'Ageism' in personnel selection.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
The present research involved two independent studies. The first study looked at "ageism" or age discrimination in selection interviews. The effects of applicant age, information exposure and job status were examined in the interview. The specific research question addressed was whether exposure to information about successful older workers would reduce discrimination against older employees in interview settings. This study was carried out with a sample of 61 managers. Prior to !Ylaking selection decisions about a young applicant (25 years old) or an older applicant (48 years old), subjects read an article which contained either age-related information or neutral information. The age-related information was designed to mitigate against age bias. Videotaped job interviews were then viewed by the subjects who were required to make job performance evaluations and hire decisions about the applicant. Evidence of ageism against the old applicant was found. However as predicted, managers exposed to the age-related information gave significantly more favourable evaluations to the old applicant and were more willing to hire him than the young applicant. The second study addressed a very current research concern - the generalisability of findings in selection research using student samples to managerial samples. The same methodology was repeated with a sample of 119 undergraduate students. The results showed significant differences in students' selection decisions. The students exposed to age-related information gave more favourable ratings to the young applicant, and were not willing to hire the old applicant. The implications of these results are discussed.