Given that age is considered a key demographic variable for IS research, recent work has accumulated overwhelming evidence that older workers perform worse on computerized tasks than their younger counterparts. This finding is alarming given the facts that the workforce is rapidly growing older and, at the same time, organizational technologies are proliferating. However, the reasons for the finding that older workers perform worse on computerized tasks remain unclear, limiting managers’ understanding of what can be done to assist older employees in realizing their full potential. The research presented here explores a pertinent reason why: the speed with which people process information. Based on the importance of information processing for IT-related work, we present a research model theorizing that older workers perform worse on computerized tasks than their younger counterparts due to differences in processing speed between older and younger individuals. The model, thus, aims to explain precisely how and why older workers demonstrate lower computerized task performance (i.e., mediation analysis). A related issue concerns the question of what can be done to help older workers remain productive members of the workforce despite declining processing speed. To examine this question, the model specifies computer experience and self-efficacy as potential buffers against the negative impacts of declining processing speed (i.e., moderated mediation analysis). Preliminary data lent initial support to the model. The research concludes that effective managerial interventions are needed to address the adverse effects of declining processing speed for IT-related work.
Tams, Stefan, "When Modern IT Meets an Old Workforce: A Moderated Mediation Model of Age, Information Processing Resources, and Performance on Computerized Tasks" (2016). DIGIT 2016 Proceedings. 10.