Surveying the Quality of Ageing at Work: Tools and Findings to Support HRM Processes

Francesco Marcaletti, Emma Garavaglia

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Recent reforms of statutory age to retire throughout Europe have shown the need – within work organizations – for HR policies to be able to face the challenges of an increasing employees’ mean age and of an imbalanced age mix among the labor force. On the basis of the key concepts arising from the organizational literature on age management, as well as to the evidence-based achievements of the research on this topic, the paper aims at introducing the architecture and the first empirical findings of a new tool (the Quality of Ageing at Work Questionnaire – QAW-q) addressed to survey the process of ageing at work at employee's level within defined work organizations. Based on the key elements of the workability concept – health, competencies, motivation, work organization – the QAW-q broadens its perspective by introducing other four elements aiming at bridging intra-organizational dimensions affecting the employees’ condition to external socio-institutional environment and constraints: work-life balance, employment and economic stability, professional identity and relations at workplace. The QAW-q also aims at weighting the influence of the different meanings of age (chronological age, job seniority in the position at the workplace and years of payment to social security schemes) on the individual perceptions and on the assessment of the organizational performance related to the eight key topics above mentioned. To fulfil this objective, the QAW-q has been structured as to intersect the ‘individual’, ‘organizational’ and ‘passage of time’ levels. Therefore, for each of the eight topics, six answers are collected: three of them related to the individual perceptions; two of them making interact the evaluation of past experiences with future expectations; the last one related to the assessment of the organizational performance on that specific topic. According to this structure, the QAW-q can be adopted at workplace level both for cross-sectional analysis and for longitudinal surveys on employees. It produces scores at individual and organizational level, as well as evidences of the influence exerted by the age factors. By offering a tool which allows to interpret the organizational factors by adopting the ‘lens of age’, the results arising from multivariate analysis of the eight key dimensions can be used as leverages for supporting the HR and managerial policies to be more age-friendly and ageaware. Under testing at present in some Italian private firms and municipalities the QAW-q has started to produce first outcomes – that we present in this paper – that confirm its heuristic potentials as a tool for action-research within work organizations.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteRe-thinking Diversity. Multiple Approaches in Theory, Media, Communities, and Managerial Practice
EditorCordula Braedel-Kühner, Andreas Müller
Numero di pagine18
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2016


  • Ageing at work
  • QAW
  • Work organisations
  • Work quality


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