The Effects of Age-Diversity on Employees and Organizations
David I. Levine
Professor, Haas School of Business
University of California
Berkeley CA 94720-1900
Retail establishments and restaurants have traditionally hired a young workforce. As the population and workforce have aged, the diversity of ages in these establishments has increased as well. This proposal examines the effects of increasing age diversity on employees and organizations. Careful attention is paid to differentiating age diversity (dispersion), age isolation (being far from the mean age), age extremes (being the youngest or oldest), age relations that break American norms (employees that are older than their manager).
We have longitudinal data from over 70,000 employees at over 800 workplaces of one very large employer in this sector. We will examine whether age diversity increases sales (as more customers are likely to find a similar-aged service person) or reduces sales (as group communication and cohesiveness declines).
We will examine whether age diversity increases turnover (as others have found) and whether, if so, this effect is largely due to age isolation (being far from the mean age). We will also examine if having a younger manager (controlling for the level of worker and manager age) increases quit rates or decreases dismissal rates.
Because we have longitudinal data, our analyses control for the labor market and workplace. Thus, our results will not be due, for example, to a weak labor market that pushes more non-teen workers into this low-wage sector while reducing quit rates.