Younger employees are often promoted into supervisory positions in which they manage older subordinates. Do companies benefit or suffer when supervisors and subordinates have inverse age differences? In this study, we examine how average age differences between younger supervisors and older subordinates are linked to company performance. We propose that the average age differences determine how frequently older subordinates and their coworkers experience negative emotions, and that the frequency levels in turn relate to overall performance. However, the indirect association between age differences and performance occurs only if subordinates express their feelings toward their supervisor, but the association is neutralized if emotions are suppressed. We find consistent evidence for this theoretical model in a study of 61 companies and responses from 175 top management team members, 61 human resources director, and 7,802 employees.
contribution to scientific community
HSG Profile Area
SoM - Responsible Corporate Competitiveness (RoCC)
Capitalism in Question
Academy of Management
73rd Academy of Management Annual Meeting (AOM) 2013 "Capitalism in Question"