F. Kohlbacher, W.H. Güttel and B. Haltmeyer
further success of enterprises in these countries. Verworn and Hipp analysed data from the 2001 German Community Innovation Survey to explore the impact of personnel structure (the share of older employees, skill shortages, share of highly skilled employees) on innovation input and output. Overall, they did not find support for a high share of older employees in a company having a negative effect on innovation output. However, companies with a high share of older employees tend to invest less in further training (considered innovation input). This contradicts the call for lifelong learning. In accordance with the authors’ propositions, a high share of highly skilled employees had a positive effect on innovation input and output. Companies which experienced skill shortages tended to be more likely to invest in further training. However, they were, somewhat surprisingly, more innovative than companies which did not suffer from skill shortages.
In ‘Individual competencies that older workers use in successfully adapting during their careers’, Cunningham and Sweet argue that some older workers are more successful than others in maintaining a high level of functioning despite losses in psychological and biological capacities. In this grounded theory study of the careers of eight older workers, the authors sought to develop a framework relating successful career development and Protean competencies. The participants in the sample illustrated different levels of career development, some being more successful than others. Cunningham and Sweet identified ten competencies relating to:
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replacing beliefs about chronological age with beliefs of psychological age taking steps to improve health adjusting preferences to fit life’s circumstances cultivating relationships to improve work and career developing relationships which recognise a diversity of interests developing relationships for mentoring others developing a sense of self in relationships redefining the contract with the organisation finding aspects of work which are meaningful and fulfilling
10 replacing job worth with self worth.
One of the most frequent observations underlying these findings was the variation among the respondents in their beliefs about their ability to control the events they encountered in their lives. The transcripts suggest there might be a relationship between a person’s beliefs about the ability to control and adapt during the ageing process. One possible explanation for this observation is that the respondents’ sense of being ‘in charge’ illustrates their relative career development level. As the findings of this study confirmed, ageing is as much about growth and development as it is about loss and change.