Important demographic changes are causing organizations and teams to become increasingly age-diverse. Because knowledge sharing is critical to organizations’ long-term sustainability and success, both researchers and practitioners face a strategic dilemma: namely, finding ways to cultivate greater knowledge sharing among different age cohorts. In this chapter, we claim that age diversity adds relevant opportunities and distinct challenges. On one hand, it increases demands for effective knowledge sharing: Employees of different ages are likely to hold diverse knowledge and capabilities that may be lost and/or poorly exploited if they are not effectively shared. On the other hand, age differences can activate age-related stereotypes and foster the formation of age subgroups, which can hamper social integration, communication, and ultimately, knowledge sharing. Building on these insights, this chapter looks at the role of the human resource management (HRM) system as a key facilitator of effective knowledge sharing in age-diverse organizations. To this end, the chapter focuses on HR planning, training and development, performance appraisal, and reward systems, each of which can be used to develop the motivations, norms, and accountability structures that encourage employees of different ages to bridge their differences and integrate their unique perspectives and knowledge. This chapter suggests ways of tailoring HRM practices to unlock the benefits of age diversity, which may help organizations exploit and capitalize on the knowledge-based resources held by their younger and older employees.
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