Journal of Applied Social Psychology

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The Baby Boomer bias: The negative impact of generational labels on older workers

Abstract

While generational labels (e.g., Baby Boomers) are popular in the media, few studies have explored whether using these labels leads to discrimination against older workers. Using an inbox task, we examined whether the label “Baby Boomer” led older workers to be viewed more negatively than the label “older employee” in four workplace scenarios. Data were collected from 304 management students (mean age = 30.92 years, SD = 9.21). Individuals identified as Baby Boomers were viewed more negatively across all four different scenarios and this effect was modified by social dominance orientation and power distance orientation in the hiring scenarios. Overall, our results suggest the use of generational labels such as Baby Boomers may negatively impact the workplace experiences of older workers.

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