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Journal of Applied Psychology 2003 Vol 88 No 3 529 537 Copyright 2003 by the American Psychological Association Inc 0021 9010 03 12 00 DOI 10 1037 0021 9010 88 3 529 RESEARCH REPORTS Work Attitudes and Decisions as a Function of Manager Age and Employee Age Lynn M Shore Jeanette N Cleveland Georgia State University Pennsylvania State University Caren B Goldberg George Washington University Research has shown the importance of employee age relative to coworker age in determining attitudes performance and career related opportunities The authors used chronological and subjective measures of employee and manager age to determine whether employee age relative to the manager has an impact on these same outcome variables One hundred eighty five managers and 290 employees completed surveys The strongest and most consistent age effects were observed for interactions between employee and manager chronological age Both the magnitude and pattern of the employee manager age interactions varied by self and manager rated outcome measures of work attitudes performance and promotability assessments and developmental experiences Results are discussed in light of the relational demography and career timetable literatures Traditionally managers were likely to be older and more experienced than most of the individuals they supervised It is now increasingly common e g because of reorganizations and mergers to find older workers reporting to younger managers Although there has been much research on the simple relationship between employee age and important work decisions and outcomes Rhodes 1983 Waldman Avolio 1986 more recent research suggests that it is important to consider contextual influences such as the ages of others in the employee s work environment Murphy Cleveland 1995 Several previous studies e g Cleveland Shore 1992 Cleveland Shore Murphy 1997 Ferris Judge Chachere Liden 1991 have shown that work attitudes and evaluations of older and younger workers are affected by the



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