Implicit and Explicit Attitudes towards Older Workers and their Relationship with Behaviour
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
The population both internationally and in New Zealand is ageing. This is of concern for organisations as the age of the workforce is increasing. New Zealand is a relatively small country and requires the participation of the full potential workforce. If organisations are discriminating against older workers then they risk their own productivity and growth. The aim of the present study was to explore whether discrimination against older workers, specifically older female workers, and to investigate the relationship between individual’s attitudes and behaviour (i.e., evaluations of a job applicant’s CV). One hundred and eight Canterbury University students completed measures of explicit (Semantic Differential Scale), and implicit (Implicit Association Test) attitudes and a Recruitment Task that required them to evaluate the CV of a male or female job applicant who was either a younger or older (or no age specified). Negative implicit and explicit attitudes towards older, relative to younger, workers were shown on both the implicit and explicit attitude measures. However the results showed in general, there were no differences between the evaluations of the younger and older applicants’ CVs. As expected, implicit and explicit attitudes were not related to each other. The current research suggests that negative implicit and explicit attitudes exist towards older workers, but that these attitudes do not necessarily affect behaviour. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.