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Research Article

Ageism at Work: What Happens to Older Workers Who Benefit from Preferential Treatment?

Authors:

Caroline Iweins ,

Institute of Psychological Sciences, Université catholique de Louvain, BE
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Donatienne Desmette,

Institute of Psychological Sciences, Université catholique de Louvain, BE
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Vincent Yzerbyt

Institute of Psychological Sciences, Université catholique de Louvain, BE
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Abstract

In order to increase the activity rate of older workers, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) recommends that national governments implement policies promoting the employment of this category of workers. However, policies that favour minority groups have been shown to produce detrimental effects such as devaluing members of these groups. In two studies, we examined whether age-related preferential treatment reinforces ageist attitudes in the workplace. A first study revealed that policies favouring 50 years old workers increased negative perceptions toward them. In a second experimental study, results indicated that, compared to a merit-based treatment, a preferential treatment increased negative perceptions, emotions, and behaviours toward an old target. As a set, our findings shed new light on ageism at work and on the role of context.
How to Cite: Iweins, C., Desmette, D. & Yzerbyt, V., (2012). Ageism at Work: What Happens to Older Workers Who Benefit from Preferential Treatment?. Psychologica Belgica. 52(4), pp.327–349. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/pb-52-4-327
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Published on 01 Dec 2012.
Peer Reviewed

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