Priority Programme 1184 Age-differentiated work systems
Funded by German Research Foundation (DFG)
The priority programme “age-differentiated work systems” investigates the relationship between work and working conditions on the one hand and age processes on the other hand. The understanding of this link is a precondition for the implementation of age-based work systems.
In Germany and other European countries the proportion of elderly employees is increasing and will increase further. At the same time there is a tendency to drop out of the labour force earlier. The combination of both developments leads to difficulties for the social security systems and for the companies to meet their demand of qualified and efficient employees. Thus in recent years many broad initiatives were formed to fight a development which is increasingly seen as a waste of human resources. There aim is to change attitudes towards older employees and to give practical recommendations (e.g. examples of successful practise) to the companies. Unlike these initiatives there is still a lack of systematic research in the field of industrial science and related disciplines. Only a few approaches provide meaningful arguments and evaluations for the design of age-based systems.
With the submitted programme a multi disciplinary research project shall be initiated which focuses on the development of models that reflect the life span design of work systems. The aim is to find opportunities for older people to keep them in employment.
These models based on empirical evidence establish a basis for the practical design of work systems. In addition the evaluation of how the models were realized in practice - from the perspective of the individual employee and of the company - contributes to the validation of the theoretical models.
The thirteen different projects of the priority programme address
the following issues:
1. Age-specific distribution of tasks: Which kinds of tasks are appropriate for younger employees, and which kinds for older employees?
2. Age-specific design of work and work equipment: Which organisational, technical and social conditions can support the work ability and the health of younger and older employees?
3. Age-specific personnel development: Which age-dependent variations of methods for personnel development can promote the maintenance of health and occupational performance efficiently?
4. Influences of the working life: Which characteristics of the work and the working conditions influence the age process and the work ability in a cumulative way?
The priority programme 1184 tries to answer these questions. Several psychological and ergonomic approaches where chosen to combine basic and applied research.
Coordinators of the priority programme:
- Professor Dr. Ekkehart Frieling, Institute of Industrial Science / Ergonomics, University of Kassel
- Professor Dr. Herbert Heuer, Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors, University of Dortmund