Age, Forgiveness, and Meeting Behavior: A Multilevel Study

Authors: Schulte, E. M., Lehmann-Willenbrock, N., & Kauffeld, S. (2013)

Abstract
Purpose
This paper aims to examine the effects of age on counteractive team meeting behaviors (e.g. complaining). Forgiveness is included as a potential buffer against these behaviors. A multilevel model is developed to test individual and team level age effects.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 313 employees nested in 54 teams completed a forgiveness questionnaire and were videotaped during regular team meetings.


Findings

Multilevel modeling revealed that both individual age and average team age predicted counteractive team meeting behavior. Team level age diversity was linked to decreased counteractive behavior. Forgiveness moderated the negative link between individual age (but not team average age) and counteractive behavior.


Research limitations/implications
This is the first study examining age effects in the context of counteractive meeting behavior. Although the authors' findings need to be substantiated in further research, they show that older team members engage in significantly more counteractive communication – forgiveness can help alleviate this effect.

Practical implications
Teams with older team members should be sensitized to avoid counteractive behavior. Moreover, team composition should target high age diversity. Managerial interventions should also aim to facilitate forgiveness in the work environment, especially among older team members.


Originality/value
Research on dysfunctional team meeting behavior is sparse, and the role of age effects has not been examined in this context. The authors identify a significant link between age and counteractive meeting behavior. This multilevel model shows differential effects of individual age, team average age, and age diversity on counteractive communication. Furthermore, a buffer against these dysfunctional behaviors is identified: forgiveness.


Keywords
Age, Diversity, Teams, Forgiveness, Meetings, Multilevel modeling

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