Quotation Collien, Isabel, Sieben, Barbara, Müller-Camen, Michael. 2016. Age work in organizations: Maintaining and disrupting institutionalized understandings of higher age . British Journal of Management (BJM) 27, 778-795.




Age diversity research calls for new approaches in explaining the persistence of age inequalities, which integrate different levels of analysis and display greater context sensitivity. Concurrently, neoinstitutionalist research interested in social inequalities calls for merging institutional theory with critical perspectives and to account for issues of power. In this study, we address the calls of both research streams through developing the concept of ‘age work’: the institutional work actors undertake on age as a social institution. Applying our novel concept to a multi-actor study of four German organizations known for their age management, we come across a counterintuitive insight regarding actors’ age work: maintaining stereotypical age images can serve to counter age inequalities, whereas deconstructing age images can reinforce age inequalities. The multi-actor perspective of our study allows us to categorize different forms of power-laden and interest-driven age work and to portray the reproduction of age inequalities as a result of actors’ age work, embedded in different contexts and complex power relations. Comparing employees’ forms of age work across sectors and organizations, we detail how notions of masculinity as well as income and job security shaped the categorized forms of age work.


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Publication's profile

Status of publication Published
Affiliation WU
Type of publication Journal article
Journal British Journal of Management (BJM)
Citation Index SSCI
WU Journalrating 2009 A
WU-Journal-Rating new FIN-A, MAN-A, STRAT-B, WH-A
Language English
Title Age work in organizations: Maintaining and disrupting institutionalized understandings of higher age
Volume 27
Year 2016
Page from 778
Page to 795
Reviewed? Y
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-8551.12198


Müller-Camen, Michael (Details)
Collien, Isabel (Freie Universit¨at Berlin, School of Business and Economics, Germany)
Sieben, Barbara (University of the Armed Forces Hamburg, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Germany)
Institute for Human Resource Management IN (Details)
Competence Center for Sustainability Transformation and Responsibility WE (Details)
Research areas (ÖSTAT Classification 'Statistik Austria')
5352 Human resource management, personnel management (Details)
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