Project in detail

Are Age-Diverse Teams Better?

Members of this project:



Age-diverse teams have been demanded time and again as an option for the productive employment of older manpower. Empirical research on the productivity effects of mixing ages is nevertheless missing so far, and so this project aims to help close this gap. The advantages of heterogeneity (in terms of age, but also education, nationality, seniority and gender) are obvious: heterogeneous groups meld the strengths of different employees and can thus profit from complementarities. The downsides are somewhat subtler: heterogeneity in work teams is apt to impede communication and lessen group cohesion. Which of these aspects predominate constitutes an empirical question. To answer it, I use the data obtained for the above project, "Age and Labor Productivity in Manufacturing", conducted at the Mercedes-Benz Plant in Wörth. The results suggest that age diversity is harmful in teams that perform rather homogeneous tasks and it may be productivity enhancing in teams that perform rather heterogeneous tasks.

Publications arisen from this project:
  • Weiss, Matthias (2013): Erfahrung kompensiert nachlassende Fähigkeiten. Optimistische Befunde aus der Altersforschung. Interview, Personalführung, 2013 (1)
  • Ilmakunnas, Pekka; Skirbekk, Vegard; van Ours, Jan; Weiss, Matthias (2009): Ageing and Productivty,
    Garibaldi, P. (ed.), Health, Longevity, and Productivity, Oxford University Press, Oxford

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