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Age and Gender Stereotypes: New Challenges in a Changing Workplace and Workforce

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Abstract

The current research investigated age and gender stereotypes in relation to adaptive performance. Using methods similar to those used in Schein's studies (1973, 1975), 496 undergraduate students rated 1 of 7 targets on 6 dimensions of adaptive performance. All of the targets varied in age (25, 40, or 55 years) and gender, except one that was age and gender neutral. The 7th served as a reference group and was an age- and gender-neutral target. Results showed that older targets were perceived as less adaptable across most of the dimensions of adaptability. Further, men and women were perceived differently, but differences were consistent with many prevalent gender stereotypes. Finally, female participants tended to rate all targets more favorably than male participants. Implications for human resources management and future research on stereotypes at work are discussed.

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