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An aging workforce and the technology gap: An exploratory multiple case study

A gap exists in the literature on the actual experiences of older workers with information and communication technology adoption in technology-infused workplaces. To inform organizations on how to more effectively support this employee group’s adoption of technology, the purpose of this qualitative exploratory multiple case study was designed to gain a deeper understanding of the daily experiences of older workers when adopting and adapting to information and communication technologies in a technology-infused workplace. This study is framed by, first, the selection-optimization-compensation framework for successful aging and, second, the age-inclusive training design framework. Semi structured interviews with 8 participants, observational field notes, and archival data provided data regarding specific technology experiences among older workers in the workplace. Identifiable themes emerged through thematic analysis of the textual data and cross-case synthesis analysis. A total of 8 categories that enclose a total of 18 themes were identified. The categories are (a) selection of resources, (b) optimization of resources, (c) compensation of resources, (d) performance limitations, (e) assessing training needs, (f) establishing/ sustaining performance, (g) age-inclusive training needs, and (h) older workers as organizational assets. Findings enhanced social change efforts by providing insight on the daily experiences that the older worker faced which may contribute to limited productivity in the workplace. Organizational leaders and human resource managers may use results of this study to implement provisions that improve help organizational profitability, team cohesiveness, and workplace satisfaction.