MIT Sloan Management Review Article on How Tech Fails Late-Career Workers

  • 9m
  • Stefan Tams
  • MIT Sloan Management Review
  • 2024

Managers must make deliberate choices to support older workers’ use of complex technologies.

Few businesses have implemented strategies to build an age-inclusive, multigenerational workforce. Even fewer seem to be aware of the important role that workplace technologies can play in driving the performance outcomes for workers of different ages. But as labor force demographics skew older as more people work longer, business success and productivity will be increasingly tied to the well-being and job performance of workers ages 60 and older, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

As business technologies become increasingly complex, older workers experience a varying degree of increasing difficulty using them to perform job tasks. Indeed, effectively using tools such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications requires many cognitive resources that are less available for older workers because of age-related cognitive changes. Using a laboratory experiment and two large-scale surveys, I found that the job performance of older workers is hindered by the reduced perceptual speed and the technology overload that can occur if they are overburdened with an excessive number of technology demands. This problem is increasingly common because the pressure to keep up with ever-evolving office technologies compounds the pressure to keep up with other ongoing job responsibilities.

About the Author

Stefan Tams is an associate professor of information technologies at HEC Montréal.

Learn more about MIT SMR.

In this Book

  • MIT Sloan Management Review Article on How Tech Fails Late-Career Workers