From psychological to digital disengagement: exploring the link between ageism and the ‘grey digital divide’
The need for digital literacy is apparent in today’s workplace, driven by strong pressures for constant technological innovation. Previous studies have shown that although older workers make up (and will make up) a great proportion of the workforce, there persists an age-based digital divide in the workplace; and the outcome of such divide is quite negative: at the individual level, older workers feel they’re being marginalized and as such, become dissatisfied and disengage from their workplace; at the organizational level, a pool of skills and expertise is lost as a result of the older worker’s disengagement, putting at risk effective knowledge transfer and mentoring process. Hence, the importance of a deeper understanding of the contextual factors that may feed the ‘grey digital divide’ in the workplace. The goal of this paper is to address such factors moving beyond the ageist claim that a worker’s chronological age is the driving force behind the ‘grey digital divide’.
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