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OU event: Leading and managing in age diverse organisations

by on February 13, 2015

The OU Business Perspectives event (Leading and managing in age diverse organizations) took place in London yesterday. Unfortunately Katrina, who had been unwell during the week but who had lead the management of the event, was unable to attend. That apart, it all went very well indeed and many thanks to the OU staff (and the technical crew) for their excellent organization. If you weren’t able to attend, there is a free webinar with the highlights from the event on Wednesday 25 February 2015 at 19:00 – 20:00 (GMT), details via this link to the OU website

The talks were wide-ranging but all extremely interesting and informative. Martin Hall (BMW) and Paul Deemer and Robyn Palmer (NHS) offered useful examples of best practice regarding both managerial and practical aspects of dealing with an age diverse workforce at their respective organizations.  James Davies (of city law firm, Lewis Silkin) gave an excellent overview of the legal aspects of age diversity (and some great graphics). Peter Cheese (CIPD) considered the future of work in a VUCA world (that’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous).

The topic of pensions was rightly judged to be of concern and importance (perhaps a whole event on this will be organised in the future) with Lydia Fearn of Barclays and Professor Sharon Collard (OU) highlighting differences – and some similarities – across generations in terms of pension attitudes and arrangements. Professor Melanie Simms (Leicester University) and Professor David Wilson (OU) introduced their new research into young people’s precarious pathways into work (more details on their very interesting project here). They pointed out the need to distinguish how society privileges youth as a cultural signifier from the experience of young people in work. They also usefully problematised the clumping of generations when in fact there are significant differences within these age cohorts.

I presented a session from our Age at Work research ‘Taking stock of stereotypes’ that introduced our approach to analysing stock photos and some findings from our forthcoming paper in Gender, Work & Organization. It was an inter-active session so delegates got involved in doing some analysis themselves as we have some new stock photos that we thought would work well given the focus on age diversity. As ever, lots of insightful and thought-provoking comments from the audience. Thanks to everyone who took part.  Several people commented afterwards that they would never look at stock photos in the same way again!

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