Too old for modern work? An explicit and implicit measure of the modern-work-is-young stereotype. By: Drazic, Ivana and Schermuly, Carsten C. 2024. German Journal of Human Resource Management / Zeitschrift für Personalforschung. Vol. 38 Issue 1, p59-89.

With organizational practices such as working from home, agile project management, and shared leadership, the world of work is becoming increasingly dynamic and flexible. Simultaneously, the workforce in most industrialized nations is getting older. We hypothesized that both an explicit and implicit stereotype exists that associates modern work practices (MWP) more strongly with younger workers than with older workers (i.e. modern-work-is-young stereotype). With a focus on other-stereotyping, we surveyed participants who identified as younger or middle-aged workers (N = 186). Based on the contact hypothesis, we assumed that contact to older coworkers and contact with MWP are negatively related to both explicit and implicit endorsement of the modern-work-is-young stereotype. Furthermore, we examined differences in résumé evaluations for a job involving MWP, presenting an older and a younger hypothetical applicant. The results indicate the existence of a moderate explicit as well as implicit modern-work-is-young stereotype. The proposed contact hypothesis held true for the explicit but not for the implicit modern-work-is-young stereotype. Lastly, the younger applicant received significantly more positive evaluations than the older applicant, and only the explicit modern-work-is-young stereotype predicted the extent of age discrimination. The results suggest that the explicit modern-work-is-young stereotype can harm older employees and hamper intergenerational collaboration. These findings are especially important in times of demographic change, when workforces are becoming increasingly age-heterogeneous and retaining older workers seems more important than ever.