Krings, Franciska; Sczesny, Sabine; Kluge, Annette:

Stereotypical inferences as mediators of age discrimination at employment: The role of competence and warmth.

In: British Journal of Management, Jg. 22 (2011) ; Nr. 2, S. 187-201
ISSN: 1467-8551
Zeitschriftenaufsatz / Fach: Psychologie
Drawing on theories of stereotype content and role congruity, this research investigated
the role of stereotypes for employment discrimination against older candidates. Study 1
investigated the content of stereotypes about older workers, focusing on warmth and
competence as the two core dimensions in social judgement. As predicted, older workers
were perceived as less competent but warmer than younger workers. Studies 2 and 3
investigated how these stereotypes interact with job requirements to predict age bias in
an experimental setting. Further, they tested if warmth- and competence-related
stereotypical inferences mediate the relation between candidate age and selection bias.
Results showed that age bias was robust. Older candidates were discriminated against,
even if the job primarily required warmth-related qualities, and independently of
evaluators’ own age or professional experience in human resources. Moreover, age bias
was mediated by competence-related stereotypical inferences. Age bias was also
mediated by inferences related to warmth but those inferences were opposite to the highwarmth
older worker stereotype identified in Study 1. Implications of the findings for
theoretical approaches to age discrimination and for organizational practice designed to
combat age discrimination are discussed.