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Title: Fostering productivity, innovation and an extended workforce contribution of a professional ageing workforce : a study of management perceptions in a global pharmaceutical corporation
Author: Saarteinen-Erben, Jaana
ISNI:       0000 0004 2694 3672
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2010
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Mature and skilled managers and knowledge workers are expected to become an important and sought after source of labour in the next decades due to a projected skills shortage and a persistent decline and ageing of the workforce within the majority of OECD countries. However, there is limited evidence that companies are preparing for these shifts and viewing their offerings in relation to the needs of an ageing and shrinking workforce. Also there is a scarcity of related studies and a call for exploratory research and theory building to investigate what factors at a company level could contribute to or hinder performance, innovation, and continued participation of increasingly ageing cohorts of professionals. This thesis is about uncovering factors which leaders and knowledge workers at senior management levels in a global corporation perceive as relevant to foster their sustained ability and will to perform and innovate as they age - and ultimately extend their productive years in the workforce. To capture their reflections and foresights, individual collaging and focus group discussions were applied as participatory research methods. The subsequent inductive analysis was based on the insights of three annual cohorts (median ages between 42.6-44.6) encompassing a total of 92 senior management level employees representing both genders, various cultures, and diverse professional backgrounds. The study surfaces 12 dimensions with perceived impeding and/or conducive relevance for the respondents’ work related attitudes and behaviours in light of ageing. Eight of them are influencable by human resource policies and practices. The predominant factors which cut across all sample units include ‘offering a variety of flexible work arrangements’ and ‘paying attention to work-life balance; attaining a clear division between work and time off’. Further ones comprise ‘paying attention to inclusion, fair treatment and making use of (age-) diversity’, ‘ensuring opportunities for continued development and personal growth’, ‘starting to focus on health and well-being’, ‘continuing with the company’s Lead & Lean culture of working together’, ‘continuing with participatory leadership and work practices’, as well as ‘providing opportunities for mentoring and coaching’. The remaining four dimensions are linked to the company’s overall ethical values and conduct, strategic long-termness, organizational and structural (in)efficiencies, and the company remaining privately held. The outcomes include dimensions which have been associated in other studies with work related attitudes and behaviours of the ageing. However, some of the features can be considered as distinct or even new ones. The dimensions and some of their facets serve as a tentative conceptual framework with options to consider in search of ways to foster the continued work contributions of the corporation’s ageing cohorts of leaders.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.B.A.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available