Proposing a Diversity Intelligence Training Framework for Leaders and Managers to Attract, Maintain, and Balance Mature Workers

Proposing a Diversity Intelligence Training Framework for Leaders and Managers to Attract, Maintain, and Balance Mature Workers

Sheron Lawson (Wayland Baptist University, USA) and Claretha Hughes (University of Arkansas, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2277-6.ch001
OnDemand PDF Download:
No Current Special Offers


The workforce is becoming more diverse with the increasing number of mature workers delaying retirement and working beyond the legal retirement age. Retaining mature workers in organizations can be challenging. Training leaders and managers in diversity intelligence (DQ) has the potential to lead to better and more effective supervision of diverse employees. Competent and skilled managers and leaders who are trained in DQ will be more able to help in the attracting, retaining, and balancing mature workers. The chapter proposes using the three learning processes of enactive, iconic, and symbolic from Bruner's discovery learning theory to teach leaders and managers DQ. The learning outcome is that managers will become mentors and coaches who are equipped to use goal-oriented and transformative processes to supervise the independent, motivated, and proactive adult workers.
Chapter Preview


Researchers indicated that diverse and multicultural intellectual human capital assets within organizations are more effective at producing higher performance (Nelson, 2014, Chen, Liu, & Portnoy 2012, Moon, 2013 & Bogilovic & Skerlavaj, 2016). One diverse characteristic is that of workers over the age of 40 who are considered to be mature workers in many workplaces. These workers are protected from workplace discrimination by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) of 1967 (US Department of Labor, n.d. a). There has been a significant increase in the number of workers who have chosen to remain in the workplace beyond traditional retirement ages in the workplace. Brandon (2018) purported that full retirement age will continue to increase to about 67 years of age for workers born in 1960 and later. Increased life expectancy, financial necessity, and improved health of older Americans are all factors that are contributing to retirement-aged people delaying their retirement (Orszag, 2018). Pew research and the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistic both reported that some employees are uncertain about retirement and expressed delaying retirement until after age 65. Statistics from these two organizations confirmed employment of 65 and older employees has increased significantly over the past 30 years (Pew Charitable Trust, 2018, Toossi & Torpey, 2017).

As workplaces become more diverse, especially with older adults deciding to retire later or to work through retirement, leaders must become more adept at leading diverse employees. Having the knowledge and the understanding on how to lead diverse employees (Hughes, 2016, 2018c) and manage diverse intellectual human capital assets is important in keeping an organization’s competitive advantage. According to Wiig (1993), knowledge management is fundamentally the management of corporate knowledge and intellectual assets that can improve a range of organizational performance characteristics and add value by enabling an enterprise to act intelligently. Since the early 1990s knowledge management has been a critical factor for organizations looking to increase their productivity and effectiveness (Delong & Fahey, 2000; Drucker, 1999; Zack, 1999; Inkpen, 1996). According to Koulopoulos and Frappaolo (2000), knowledge management is a critical business strategy, which enables an organization to leverage its most precious resources, collective know-how, talent and experiences to accelerate the rate at which it handles new market challenges and opportunities. Inkpen (1996) propounded that organizations’ failure to create and manage knowledge as a critical asset may account for their declining performance.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Multicultural: Relating to several cultural or ethnic groups within a society.

Cultural Intelligence: The capability to relate and work effectively across cultures.

Symbolic: Classifying, coding, organizing and storing the information and knowledge.

Iconic: Internalizing and enhancing knowledge by developing visual images to retain information.

Discovery Learning: A method of inquiry-based instruction that allows learners to discover facts and relationships for themselves.

Enactive: Acquiring knowledge through actions.

Diversity Intelligence: The capability of individuals to recognize the value of workplace diversity and to use this information to guide thinking and behavior.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book: