Age and innovation-related behavior: The joint moderating effects of supervisor undermining and proactive personality


Correspondence to: Thomas W. H. Ng, School of Business and Economics, The University of Hong Kong, Pok Fu Lam, Hong Kong. E-mail:


Previous research has yielded mixed results regarding the effects of age on innovation-related behavior (IRB; i.e., generating, disseminating, and implementing new ideas). This paper hypothesizes that the relationship of age with IRB is jointly moderated by undermining behavior on the part of the supervisor and the extent to which the employee possesses a proactive personality. We collected data from 196 employees at three points in time over a one-year period. Results supported the hypothesized 3-way interaction of age, supervisor undermining, and proactive personality on IRB. As predicted, highly proactive older workers responded to high supervisor undermining with more IRB, whereas older workers low on proactive personality responded to high supervisor undermining with less IRB. On the other hand, when supervisor undermining was low, proactive personality did not moderate the relationship of age with IRB. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.