“Doing Age” in Human Resources Management

Age is one category on which we construct our world, the relations with other, and with ourselves. In the workforce, different studies have shown that age attitudes are basis for stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination and that they affect the career and human recourses management. Organizations construct internal processes to manage their employees’ life and growth, for example the yearly feedback process. In this project, we video recorded the feedback reviews between managers and employees among the staff of an Italian labour union. Through the analysis of discourse and categories in talk, the study shows how age, surprisingly, is rarely mobilised in the encounters, despite decision on the future career plan and the age difference between managers and employees. This result is in line with other studies that show the difficulty of unfolding age attitudes, when other constructs are more salient, as personal skills, knowledge or career management, and decision making processes. The present research suggests the need of broadening the area of analysis of social interactions, focusing on the informal encounters, when looking for how aging is shaping the social relationship in the workplace.

Ageing, Age management, Workforce, Generational identity

Social and Cultural Perspectives on Aging

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session