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01.05.2015 | Original Paper | Ausgabe 4/2015

Journal of Business Economics 4/2015

The role of user age in task performance: examining curvilinear and interaction effects of user age, expertise, and interface design on mistake making

Zeitschrift:
Journal of Business Economics > Ausgabe 4/2015
Autoren:
J. Christopher Zimmer, Stefan Tams, Kevin Craig, Jason Thatcher, Richard Pak
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s11573-015-0762-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Abstract

The next 30 years are going to be challenging for organizations as they need to transition to a workforce that is rapidly growing older. As the workforce is growing older, the age of organizational technology users is an important aspect to examine in the context of organizational information systems (IS). The corresponding IS literature has largely assumed that age is an impediment or disadvantage when using modern information and communication technologies (ICTs) and has, thus, directed attention to the challenges faced by older technology users in the workforce. However, such research has not examined the potential benefits of an older workforce in terms of a possibly higher task performance under certain workplace conditions, such as employees’ subject-area knowledge and the design of the ICT interface. Hence, this paper examines age-related differences in the use of organizational ICTs in terms of the propensity that different age groups have toward performance in the form of mistake-making when searching for information. To do so, the paper forms hypotheses that explain how the combination of age, subject-area knowledge, and system interface lead individuals to make mistakes in a technology-enabled context. Drawing on a laboratory experiment using 107 older and younger technology users, we evaluated the three-way interaction of age, subject-area knowledge, and interface design. Our results demonstrate that—under certain conditions—age is not the detriment that it is widely believed to be. The implications of this finding are explored in relation to the “graying of the workforce” that all OECD countries are currently experiencing.

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Journal of Business Economics

From January 2013, the Zeitschrift für Betriebswirtschaft (ZfB) is published in English under the title Journal of Business Economics (JBE). The Journal of Business Economics (JBE) aims at encouraging theoretical and applied research in the field of business economics and business administration, promoting the exchange of ideas between science and practice.

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