Curvilinear relationships between age and job performance and the role of job complexity

Karanika-Murray, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-4141-3747, Van Veldhoven, M., Michaelides, G., Baguley, T. ORCID: 0000-0002-0477-2492, Gkiontsi, D. ORCID: 0000-0001-8831-7608 and Harrison, N., 2022. Curvilinear relationships between age and job performance and the role of job complexity. Work, Aging and Retirement. ISSN 2054-4642 (Forthcoming)

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Despite suggestions that work performance varies with age, the empirical evidence is in-conclusive and contradictory. Possible reasons for this are the lack of differentiation be-tween different types of performance and a naïve assumption of a negative linear relation-ship between age and task performance across the working lifespan. With this study we question and revisit these expectations. We take a lifespan perspective to explore differen-tial and curvilinear relationships between age (measured as chronological age) and three types of task performance (task proficiency, proactivity, and adaptivity), moderated by job complexity (measured as cognitive demands). Using Bayesian polynomial regression on survey data from 903 employees, we tested the relationships between age and each perfor-mance type, with job complexity as a moderator. The data indicated a U-shaped age-adaptivity relationship (main effects for job complexity) and an S-shaped age-proactivity relationship that was more pronounced under low job complexity (interaction effect). We identify the turning points for these changes, which show midlife as a critical period for changes in performance where the job context itself shapes the gradient and direction of these changes. Our findings provide crucial evidence that different types of job performance vary by age and the role of perceived job complexity in explaining trajectories in proactivi-ty and adaptivity. Implications for job design, organizational interventions, and human re-source management are discussed.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Work, Aging and Retirement
Creators: Karanika-Murray, M., Van Veldhoven, M., Michaelides, G., Baguley, T., Gkiontsi, D. and Harrison, N.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Date: 2 March 2022
ISSN: 2054-4642
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 13 Apr 2022 13:52
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2022 13:52

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