Subject: Participation in advanced training and perceptions of aging among baby boomers: On the influence of perceptions of age, aging, and older people on participation in advanced training

Professors: Prof. Burkhard Schäffer, Prof. Jürgen Maes

Project dates: 2010 - 2014

Funding: Volkswagen Foundation

This project examined perceptions of age, aging, and older people among the baby boomer generation born between 1954 and 1964. The hypothesis was that these perceptions would influence participation in professional, occupational and general advanced training inside and outside companies. Four groups were identified with regard to participation in advanced training (advanced training as "marginalia", "utopia", "matter of course", and "fate"). The attitudes of these groups towards advanced training was consistent with their perceptions of aging and their social origins. The study examined the interface between the individual and the organization. Individuals – with their individual perceptions of aging – encounter attitudes towards older people, aging and age which are deeply entrenched in organizational cultures. This encounter is not free of conflict and was reconstructed as a negotiation process from the perspective of individuals.