IEW: Intergenerational Exchange in Workplaces

This Entry has been submitted.

IEW: Intergenerational Exchange in Workplaces

Project Stage:
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

The target is to promote older people’s active participation in our society through the intergenerational exchange and social inclusion in workplaces

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

We are living a demographical revolution: the world population is ageing dramatically. This tendency poses great challenges to our society, also in the work context. Ageing is characterized not only by loss but also by gains: in fact, beside age-related changes in some intellectual abilities (i.e. the speed with which activities are carried out), older adults, in particular older workers, are of particular value because of their long standing expertise, their personal and working culture (gain) and their ability to learn new things if placed in ideal conditions. In conclusion, old workers, whose percentage has gradually increased over the last two decades, have a large pool of knowledge and expertise that could become a resource for the community through the promotion of “active ageing” ’s policies also in the work domain. One consequence of the fact that people has to remain in the working domain for a longer time, is the presence of workers of different generations that have to work side by side in the same workplace. This could lead to conflicts because of the presence of stereotypes and wrong considerations about ageing and in particular about the senior workers’ abilities: the stereotypical view is that senior workers are unable to learn or use technology, and are less productive than younger colleagues because of ageing. It is also possible that this view is shared by the older workers who are convinced that they are no more useful in the working context. To this, it is crucial to assess which are the beliefs that people have, the emotions related to the working activities, the ideas concerning the ageing and the willigness to exchanges one’s competences across different ages.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

In order to promote intergenerational exchange in workplaces it is crucial to assess firstly some of the critical variables that affect the intergenerational cooperation. Evidences from researchs show that wrong beliefs and negative stereotypes - conidering senior workers less productive than younger colleagues and unable to learn and use technology - are the main obstacle to a fruitful exchange between workers, independently from the features of companies and workers (i.e. type of job, working years, education).The attitude to think that age-related changes affect older workers' efficiency is present not only in younger workers: feelings of uselessness, of inability to learn new procedures and loss of motivation, are often supported also by senior workers, who consider the last part of their career only as a period of transition towards the retirement and not as a period of new opportunities. So these studies show the importance of considering the beliefs about aging and the emotions that the workers -of different generations- have and the willigness of people to exchange with other “generations” their knowledge; these variables could be crucial to enhance or hinder the intergenerational cooperation and the working efficacy. Although several studies reported the need to consider those aspects. no strategies have been identified yet to assess these issues. So, it is firstly important to assess these aspects considering that wrong beliefs could be modified only if motivational and emotional aspects are taken into account and personal features exploited.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

If wrong beliefs obstacle intergenerational cooperation in working groups, it is primarily necessary to assess the personal availability towards the intergenerational exchange and to analyze possible negative factors that affect motivation to acquire, use and transfer knowledge across generations.To this, we propose a series of standardized questionnaires to assess; 1) beliefs about senior workers; willingness to knowledge exchange; 2)inclination to intergenerational knowledge exchange; 3)beliefs about ageing; 4)emotions felt in particular working situations. This project is addressed to the companies and it is divided into two integrative parts: I) identification, through questionnaires, of workers’ beliefs, emotions and of the willingness to intergenerational exchange to verify, inside the companies, what is the "general climate" towards these themes; 2) implementation of the intervention program in order to promote more appropriate knowledge about ageing and senior workers, with particular attention on emotive-motivational aspects.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Actually, there are no solutions, to our knowledge, addressing the problem of intergenerational exchange in workplace contexts. In fact, the promotion of intergenerational exchange has been mainly proposed in the social context (i.e.schools).Further, basic aspect of our behavior (attitudes, emotions) have never been taken into account as mediator variables of the working performance and efficacy –which are crucial aspects for older workers. The main challenge of the present project is to focus on workplace context in order to promote intergenerational exchanges through 1) assessment of beliefs on intergenerational exchanges, willingness to collaborate with senior workers, emotions on working settings, 2) intervention programs.
About You
Visit website
About You
First Name


Last Name

De Beni

Implementer(s) and cooperation partners

SIPI- Italian Society of Psychology of Ageing


Non-university research body

Country where main implementer is located


How long has the main implementer been operating?

More than 5 years

Please provide a short description of the main implementer.

The SIPI integrates psychologists, clinicians, physicians, sociologists and experts working in the field of ageing at national and international level. It promotes studies and research on both normal and pathological ageing and implements the diffusion of information, scientific and technical knowledge,staff training and good clinical and evidence-based practices. The Society could rely on a long-standing research experience about life-span development and active ageing, integrating information from different points of view delivered by different professional figures.

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

Cooperation partner

“Lab.I”: Laboratory of psychology of ageing



How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? What competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

Among the different activities proposed, the Lab.I also organizes courses addressed to professionals working in human resources field, based on the use of a new battery called MAUT. This battery is at the base of the present project and it focuses on intergenerational exchange.

Cooperation partner

Centro Studi Alvise Cornaro


Non-university research institute

How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

It supports the present initiative also by promoting and proposing it to scientific communities and other associations working in ageing field. Professionals of this association are involved in carrying on the activities planned for this project also at the intergenerational education level.

Cooperation partner

Progetto Formazione Continua



How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

It will act as lead partner in the elaboration and the promotion of the awareness-raising strategy concerning the project and the coordination, support and organization of events and opportunities to spread information at local and international level.

Cooperation partner

MIDA Empowering Individuals and Organizations


Private company

How does this cooperation partner support the initiative? Which competencies and resources does this partner bring to the initiative?

This society collaborates with SIPI and the other partners cited above, in order to develop adequate tools and successful methodologies to enhance motivation and well being in senior workers in particular proposing courses based on the activities presented in this project, inside several companies

Problem and solution
Which of these fields of Active and Healthy Ageing are addressed by your initiative?

Social inclusion (intergenerational practice, work and volunteering).

If none of the above, answer here:
Please describe if and how your stakeholders (cooperation partners, funders, users, etc.) have been participating in defining the problem and developing the solution.

During the last National SIPI congress (May, 24-25 2013), the themes described above have represented a crucial point. Moreover in 2007 the SIPI, the Lab.I and the association “Progetto Formazione Continua” have already participated to a“Cross Ages” programme in which the battery named "MAUT", described before, was initially created and validated.The Lab.I and MIDA group have also provided important reflections about this topic, through both the direct contact with companies and with courses and meetings. The activities here proposed have been already assessed in different contexts, from courses for professionals working in human resources field, to the direct contact with different Italian companies. The aim of this project is to extend the use of this battery to a larger context and to other companies, in order to emphasize the role and the potentiality of a senior worker, recognizing mainly his emotions, feelings and beliefs about ageing and work.

Has your solution been tested in trials, experimentations, or pilot projects? If yes, please describe the process and outcome.

Questionnaires were assessed to a large sample of adults from different age groups including 154 Young Workers (mean age=26,56; sd 5,39) and 152 Old Workers (mean age=56,64; sd 3,41); workers were required from different factories all over Italy. All questionnaires have good psychometric properties in terms of reliability and allow to identify two main profiles: a)pro-young profile” that represents workers that independently of their age have typical negative stereotypes about older workers;b) “pro-elderly profile” that represents workers that independently of their age tend to ascribe more positive features to older workers. Most of participants, independently of the age group and “working position”, were included in the “pro-young” cluster (87%); the most of participants in favor to the “pro-elderly” cluster were older workers (43%). The inclination to work within intergenerational groups and the importance and transmissibility of abilities had a positive correlation with the willingness to intergenerational exchange, while feeling negative emotions had a negative correlation with willingness to exchange.

How long has your solution been in operation?

for more than 5 years

Please select the relationship between your solution and related solutions currently established in our society. Is your solution…

independent (your solution is approaching a problem that has not been approached before)

What barriers might hinder the success of your initiative? How do you plan to overcome them?

Mostly, organizations, factors and industries underestimate psychological aspects that could mediate work quality and the importance of promoting intergenerational exchange. Acting at a managerial level could be the first step to raise awareness about the problem and to carry on intervention programs.

Organization and funding
Regularly paid employees






External advisers and experts


Others (please specify)
What are the specific professional backgrounds and competencies your team brings to the initiative?

The SIPI could rely on a long-standing research experience about life-span development psychology and active ageing, integrating information from different points of view that different professional figures could deliver. Particularly, intergenerational exchange is one of the main issue enhanced by its members, in order to provide solutions to the social and economical crisis that our country is experiencing in these years.

Please describe your management or coordination structure in the initiative.

The SIPI is directed by Prof. Rossana De Beni that will supervise the whole project. In particulary the society will maintaine contact with the cooperation partner and with the companies interested in the project. Erika Borella (Ph.D) and Felicia Fiore (Ph.D) will train external expert who will implement the program in the companies. Volunteers of cooperation partners will be involved in disclosing the project and supporting the organization of the courses.

Please provide the total yearly budget in Euro that your initiative spends on implementing the solution.
National public funding


European Union public funding


Economic return from own products/services


Foundations and philanthropy capital


Single donations from private individuals


Donations from private companies


Crowdfunding platforms


Participation fees


Other (please specify)


Target group, scale and impact
Which target group(s) do you want to reach with your solution?

Workers from different generations.

Please estimate the number of persons within your target group (users, clients, etc.) that you currently reach directly with your solution.
In which local/regional/national area(s) is the solution currently implemented?

North-Italy (Veneto- Piemonte-Lombardia)

What is the impact on your target group (users, clients) you want to generate?

1) To promote a cooperative job between older and senior workers;
2) To promote the sharing of knowledge on "Know-how" in work context;
3) To improve senior workers' well-being in work context.

What is the wider impact on society you want to generate?

The main target is the promotion of a climate of intergenerational exchange in which younger workers share their current and more technological knowledge with older workers and the latter offer their competences and experience to younger ones. This will promote more productivity in the working context and an active ageing.

What are the impacts on your target group you already achieved?

Data are not available until now. The project will be implemented in pilot studies in order to assess its efficacy.

How has the impact of your initiative been assessed?

Self-evaluation (you used qualitative and/or quantitative methods to assess impacts).

Public information and strategy
What information on your initiative is publicly available?

Mission and strategy, Information on team members.

Please indicate webpage or contact for obtaining the respective information.
What are your milestones for further developing, implementing, and establishing your initiative in the next three years? Please describe 1-3 milestones.

1) Assessing intergenerational exchange availability in the workplace context;
2) Promoting intergenerational exchange, through interventions, with older workers delivering their expertise and younger workers sharing their current and more technological knowledge;
3) favoring an active aging