Age: not just a number

UvA’s Chief Diversity Office and the University of Birmingham have been working on building a collaborative EDI initiative since 2018. Last year in July, a delegation from University of Birmingham visited the UvA, which introduced UvA and Birmingham scholars to one another. Since then EDI scholars from both universities have been working on a number of academic and policy oriented pieces together. The first fruits of this collaboration are becoming visible.

After meeting at the UvA workshop together, we (Seval Gündemir, UvA and Joanne Duberley, UoB) started thinking about our mutual research interests. One area we both study is ageism and age diversity in organisations.

As many societies have been ageing at an unprecedented rate, it is more important than ever to understand the dynamics of age at work. Intriguingly, research on age has remained relatively limited. In order to stimulate research interest, we have decided to propose a symposium on this topic to be held at the Academy of Management’s 2020 Annual Meeting at Vancouver, Canada, titled “Not Just a Number: New Frontiers in Research on the Role of Aging in Organizations”. The goal of the symposium is to showcase recent research that addresses the need to better understand the consequences of ageing at work. In doing so, we have invited speakers from different parts of the world to discuss their work on highlighting the role of ageing from different perspectives. For example, it is important to understand older employees as potential targets of workplace bias but also as active actors by incorporating their self-perceptions and behavioural intentions.

Recently, we were notified that the symposium was not only accepted as a showcase symposium at Academy of Management’s annual meeting, but that it was also awarded Michael Driver Best Symposium Award by the Careers Division. Because of the pandemic, the conference will be held virtually in August 2020. We will be part of a live broadcast, where Academy of Management members from all over the world can participate in the symposium.

We look forward to this (virtual) meeting and hope this symposium will inspire more scholarly work on the dynamics of the ageing work force.

Seval Gündemir (UvA) & Joanne Duberley (UoB)

Image: Chris Jarvis

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