Age discrimination within a P-E fit paradigm

maintaining fit with an active work style

Piers Bayl-Smith*, Barbara Griffin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


In the context of work environment and within-person change, age discrimination represents a substantial and important challenge for mid- to late-career workers. This present research expands the current literature by examining age discrimination within a P-E fit paradigm. Utilizing the theory of work adjustment, we examined the effect of perceived age discrimination upon demands-abilities (D-A) fit and needs-supplies (N-S) fit in two, two-wave studies. Consistent with hypotheses, Study 1 (N = 1345) demonstrated that as individuals perceived increasing experiences of age discrimination, both D-A and N-S fit decreased over time. Study 2 (N = 665) included active work styles, defined as an individual's general level and pattern of workplace effort and activity, as a possible moderating variable of the relationship between age discrimination and D-A fit. As expected, the engagement of a highly active work style ameliorated the deleterious effects of age discrimination. Implications for future empirical research and possible workplace applications deriving from these studies are discussed. Practitioner points: Age discrimination has a negative impact upon employees being able to maintain their fit with the work environment. An employee may minimize the impact of age discrimination by maintaining a highly active work style. Organizations need to facilitate a positive age diversity climate by actively challenging negative stereotypes through education and training programmes, and the enforcement of fair and just diversity policies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-328
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Issue number3
Early online date2017
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017


  • active work styles
  • age discrimination
  • ageism
  • older workers
  • person-environment fit
  • theory of work adjustment
  • work adjustment

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