Millennials only want to communicate with coworkers via text – and Baby Boomers don’t text, right? And you need to attract those tech-y Millennials with promises of flexible work schedules, but their older counterparts all want a traditional workday, correct? Well, actually, wrong. So what might really matter at work are not actual differences between generations, but people’s beliefs that these differences exist. These beliefs can get in the way of how people collaborate with their colleagues, and have troubling implications for how we people are managed and trained. Work on age stereotypes looks at the content and impact of beliefs about people from another age group. People’s beliefs about what others think about their age group – their meta-stereotypes – can also interfere with their work behavior. A recently published study examined how people react to meta-stereotypes over the course of a work week. Research has shown that people face different types of work-family conflict at different stages of their lives, from young adulthood through middle adulthood and into late adulthood.
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