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Introduction

121

Paper 6

In the last paper in this first section, ‘HR practices as predictors for knowledge sharing and innovative behaviour: a focus on age’, Slagter argues that innovation is critical in today’s highly competitive business environment for enabling sustained competitive advantage. Innovative behaviour and knowledge sharing, on the employee level, can contribute significantly to successful innovation. This study hypothesises that certain HR practices predict innovative behaviour and knowledge sharing among employees. It focuses on the moderating effect of age; the workforce is ageing and effective knowledge sharing is necessary to retain organisational knowledge levels when baby boomers retire. Based on data from a large sample of employees, the findings suggest that several HR practices contribute significantly to knowledge sharing and/or innovative behaviour. In addition, the author found that age moderates the relationship between the HR practices and innovative behaviour: older employees experience a higher level of innovative behaviour when offered HR practices as opposed to younger employees. The study discusses various practical implications that result from these findings.

2.2 Practitioner papers Practitioner Paper 1

The first practitioner paper, ‘The coming leadership gap: an exploration of competencies that will be in short supply’, by Wolff et al., argues that demographic trends show that the workforce in the developed world is ageing: approximately 50% of senior-level managers will be retiring in the next ten years. This mass exodus of senior managers will leave many companies with a leadership crisis. But the leadership skills that are most threatened by the retirements have yet to be identified. What core leadership skills will become especially rare as senior leaders retire; and what are the implications for the kinds of leadership development activities that might mitigate the effects of these losses? Wolff et al. draw on two existing archival databases to explore these questions. Together, these databases allowed analyses to identify leadership skills that are likely to become both especially rare and especially desirable in the next ten years. Although many competencies were displayed to a greater degree by leaders at higher levels in the organisation than those at lower levels, four particular competencies show especially large gaps between senior- and mid-level manager populations. This study contributes to our understanding of the effects of demographic trends on leadership by identifying competencies that are likely to be in short supply as ageing managers retire. Implications for leadership development practices are discussed.

Practitioner Paper 2

Kuebler et al. in ‘Enterprises face the ageing demographic: some options to overcome demographic challenges in a multinational company’, build on the fact that businesses worldwide are facing a tide of retiring workers whose experience and knowledge will be lost in the next several years. Each geographic region and industry has unique challenges. Their paper reports on some threats, opportunities and a variety of current approaches which companies can take to examine the issue, and upon which to engage in strategic

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