Sa-OR-S113-4 - Age Effects On Effort Gains During Team Work

Diversity in work teams
Oral Presentation
Part of:
15 minutes
Teams and workgroups
Diversity in work teams
Age effects on effort gains during team work     
L. U. A. Gärtner 1,*, K. Wessolowski 1, F. Jansen 1, C. Nohe 1, G. Hertel 1
1Organisational & Business Psychology, University of Münster, Münster, Germany
Content: Purpose
Effort gains in teams (i.e., higher individual effort in teams as compared to individual work) have been shown in laboratory and field research. However, existing studies considered only younger people. The current study examines chronological age as potential moderator of motivating effects of teamwork. Based on socio-emotional selectivity theory, we assumed that motivating effects of social competition in teams decreases with higher age, whereas motivating effects of social responsibility increases with higher age.
Hypotheses were tested in a diary study (3-8 measurements across 2-weeks) with 227 workers out of 17 companies (40% female, age M=40.05, SD=10.96). At each measure time, participants indicated whether they had worked on a team or individually, and provided ratings of their current effort, social competition with and responsibility for fellow team members.
Multilevel analyses (Mplus) revealed significant effort gains in teams when workers indicated high degrees of social competition or social responsibility. Moreover, older workers perceived higher responsibility but lower competition than their younger colleagues. However, the assumed age moderation effect was not observed.
This study focused on individuals in teams, neglecting potential moderators at the team level such as age diversity. 
Research/Practical Implications
Although older workers perceived more social responsibility and less competition in teams, older and younger workers were similarly motivated by both processes.
This is the first study demonstrating significant effort gains in teams in everyday work using a within subjects diary approach and considering systematic effects of workers’ age.

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