- A phase model of intergenerational learning in organizations
- Academy of Management Learning & Education
- Volume | Issue number
- 16 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Demographic changes challenge organizations to qualify employees across all career stages and to ensure the transfer of company-specific knowledge between experienced and young workers. Human resource development programs for employees from different generations may help address these challenges. However, there is a lack of insight into what types of knowledge employees in intergenerational training groups acquire from one another, as well as how these learning processes differ at different time points. Over a span of 3 years, we conducted 31 interviews at an automobile company involving young (16–19 years) and experienced participants (41–47 years) of a full-time intergenerational learning program and their instructors. Our findings show that both generations possess distinct expert, practical, social, and metacognitive knowledge, and that they exchange different types of knowledge at different time points. We integrate these findings into a phase model of intergenerational learning comprising three phases: (1) familiarization, (2) assimilation, and (3) detachment. Our results suggest that intergenerational learning should be conceptualized as a bidirectional process with different foci of mutual knowledge exchange across different temporal phases. To facilitate intergenerational learning, instructors should adapt their teaching methods to employees’ phase-specific needs and find ways to systematically map older and younger employees’ specific knowledge contents.
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