© OWMs

Research Topics

Demographic changes and migration

Project within the DFG Priority Program 1184 Age-differentiated Work Systems

The current demographic changes have far-reaching consequences for work processes in many industrialized countries. Age-differentiated human resource management is crucial in order to leverage the potential this development provides, and in particular to retain competencies of older workers in organisations. For such human resource management, sound knowledge of age-related changes is a necessary precondition. While previous research has mainly addressed cognitive and physical aspects of aging, our research focuses on motivational and affective differences between older and younger workers, and on the implications for experience of and behavior at work.

Our research puts forward suggestions for age-differentiated work designs and human resource development. It provides a basis for optimizing intergenerational team building. We strive to deliver state-of-the-art actionable recommendations.


  1. Research into age-related changes in the contents of work-related motives, interests and needs, as well as research into the person-environment fit between age-differentiated motives and job characteristics
  2. Study of relationships between implicit and explicit motives
  3. Study of age differences in the fit between implicit and explicit motives and their consequences for different types of organisations
  4. Study of age-related changes in the development of work satisfaction.
  5. Research into age differences in the emotional experience, especially in the strain experience
  6. Study of age-related changes in the use of control strategies
  7. Development of an integrative life-span model of work motivation
  8. Initiation of a longitudinal panel
  9. Generation of recommendations for age-differentiated human resource management

Basic assumptions

  • Increase of professional expertise and knowledge, late decline of fluid intelligence
  • Habituation to rewards, rising aspiration levels („hedonic treadmill“)
  • Development of routines during work life
  • Social comparison with (younger) colleagues
  • Social pressure from stereotypes about elder employees
  • Changes in professional self-efficacy
  • Emotional Selectivity: Subjective importance of emotion-related motives increases, whereas the importance of information-related motives declines
  • Motivational Selectivity: The number of pursued goals decreases and resources are focused on most important goals

Research methods

  • Qualitative (interviews) and quantitative (questionnaire) surveys (off-line and on-line)
  • Semi-projective and self-attributive measures
  • Cross-sectional and longitudinal research designs
  • Ranking of Work-related Values: Instrument to assess the subjective importance of 21 work-related motives, interests and needs
  • Event Reconstruction Method: Affect at work and experience-based job satisfaction are measured based on the reconstruction of specific work situations

Cooperation partners

  • Prof. Dr. Hugo Kehr (Technische Universität München)
  • Prof. Dr. Jutta Heckhausen (University of California, Irvine)
  • Prof. Dr. Christian Stamov-Rossnagel (International University Bremen)
  • Prof. Dr. Daniel Kahneman (Princeton University)
  • Prof. Dr. Norbert Schwarz (University of Michigan)
  • Prof. Dr. Jürgen Deller (Universität Lüneburg)
  • Prof. Dr. Bernad Batinic (Universität Linz)

Contact us

Prof. Dr. Guido Hertel

About us



Niemann, L., & Hertel, G. (2022). Perceived forcedness and perils of migration: Development and validation of a questionnaire for residents in receiving countries. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 89, 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijintrel.2022.05.002

Wilhelmy, A., Hertel, G. & Köhler, T. (2022). Qualitative methods for studying age and work. In Zacher, H. & Rudolph, C. W. (Eds.), Age and Work: Advances in Theory, Methods, and Practice (pp. 202-218). Routledge: SIOP Organizational Frontiers Series.

Echterhoff, G., Hellmann, J.H., Back, M.D., Kärtner, J., Morina, N. & Hertel, G. (2020). Psychological Antecedents of Refugee Integration (PARI). Perspectives on Psychological Science, 15(4), 856 –879. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1745691619898838

Gärtner, L. U. A. & Hertel, G. (2020). Age as moderator of the relationship between self-efficacy and effort in occupational teams. Work, Aging and Retirement, 6(2), 118–129. https://doi.org/10.1093/workar/waz024

Gärtner, L. U. A., Nohe, C. & Hertel, G. (2019). Lifespan perspectives on individuals’ effort in work teams. In Balres, B. B., Rudolph, C. W. & Zacher, H. (Eds.), Work across the lifespan (pp. 437-454). London: Academic Press

Hertel, G. & Zacher, H. (2018). Managing the aging workforce. In Ones, D. S., Anderson, N., Viswesvaran, C., & Sinangil, H. K. (Eds.). The SAGE Handbook of Industrial, Work, & Organizational Psychology, 2nd Edition, Volume 3 (pp. 396-428). Thousand Oakes, CA: Sage.

Borg, I., Hertel, G., & Hermann, D. (2017). Age and personal values: Similar value circles with shifting priorities. Psychology and Aging, 32(7), 636-641. [Link]

Gärtner, L. U. A. & Hertel, G. (2017). Future time perspective in occupational teams: Do older workers prefer more familiar teams? Frontiers in Psychology, section Organizational Psychology. [Link]

Hertel, G. (2016). Motive-congruency and person-environment fit of aging workers. In Pachana, N. (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Geropsychology. Singapore: Springer Science+Business Media.  doi 10.1007/978-981-287-080-3_235-1

Hertel, G., Rauschenbach, C., Thielgen, M. M., & Krumm, S. (2015). Are older workers more active copers? Longitudinal effects of age-contingent coping on strain at work. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 36, 514-537.

Hertel, G. & Zacher, H. (2015). Managing an aging workforce. In Viswesvaran, C., Anderson, N., Ones, D. S., & Sinangil, H. K. (Eds.). The SAGE Handbook of Industrial, Work, & Organizational Psychology, 2nd Edition, Volume 3. Thousand Oakes, CA: Sage.

Thielgen, M.M., Krumm, S. & Hertel, G. (2015). When being old pays off - age mitigates adverse effects of low implicit-explicit motive congruency on work motivation. Journal of Career Assessment, 23(3), 459-480.

Thielgen, M.M., Krumm, S., Rauschenbach, C., & Hertel, G. (2015). Older but wiser: Age moderates congruency effects between implicit and explicit motives on job satisfaction. Motivation and Emotion, 39, 182-200.

Hertel, G., van der Heijden, B., De Lange A. & Deller J. (guest editors)(2013). Facilitating age diversity in organizations - part I: Challenging popular misbeliefs. Special issue of the Journal of Managerial Psychology, 28, 729-856.

Hertel, G., van der Heijden, B., De Lange A. & Deller J. (guest editors)(2013). Facilitating age diversity in organizations - part II: Managing perceptions and interactions. Special issue of the Journal of Managerial Psychology, 28, 857-972.

Hertel, G., van der Heijden, B., De Lange A. & Deller J. (2013). Facilitating age diversity in organizations - part I: Challenging popular misbeliefs. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 28(7/8), 729-740.

Hertel, G., van der Heijden, B., De Lange A. & Deller J. (2013). Facilitating age diversity in organizations - part II: Managing perceptions and interactions. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 28(7/8), 857-866.

Hertel, G., Thielgen, M., Rauschenbach, C., Grube, A., Stamov-Roßnagel, C. & Krumm, S. (2013). Age differences in motivation and stress at work. In Schlick, C., Frieling, E. & Wegge, J. (Eds.), Age-differentiated work systems (pp. 119-147). Berlin: Springer.

Krumm, S., Grube, A., & Hertel, G. (2013). No time for compromises: Age as a moderator of the relation between needs-supply fit and job satisfaction. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 22(5), 547-587.

Krumm, S., Grube, A., & Hertel, G. (2013). The Munster Work Value Measure. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 28(5), 532-560.

Rauschenbach, C., Krumm, S., Thielgen, M. & Hertel, G. (2013). Age and work stress: A review and meta-analysis. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 28(7/8), 781-804.

Hertel, G. & Stamov-Rossnagel, C. (2012). Reconstruction methods: Using episodic memory traces to capture experiences at work efficiently. In Bakker, A.B. & Daniels, K. (eds.) A day in the life of the happy worker (p. 100-113). London: Psychology Press.

Rauschenbach, C., Göritz, A. & Hertel, G. (2012). Age stereotypes about emotional resilience at work. Educational Gerontology.

Rauschenbach, C. (2011). Alt und ausgepowert? - Wie ältere Berufstätige ihre Arbeit erleben. Themenausgabe Alternde Gesellschaft(en), In-Mind Magazine, No. 2/2011.

Rauschenbach, C. & Hertel, G. (2011). Age differences in strain and emotional reactivity to stressors in professional careers. Stress and Health, 27, e48-e60.

Stamov-Rossnagel, C. & Hertel, G. (2010). Older workers’ motivation: Against the myth of general decline. Management Decision, 48(6), 894-906.

Deller, J. & Hertel, G. (Gasthrsg.)(2009). Demografic change in work organizations. Sonderheft der Zeitschrift für Personalpsychologie.

Grube, A. (2009). Alterseffekte auf die Bedeutung berufsbezogener Motive und die Zielorientierung. Dissertation. Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster.

Grube, A. & Hertel, G. (2008). Altersbedingte Unterschiede in Arbeitsmotivation, Arbeitszufriedenheit und emotionalem Erleben während der Arbeit. Wirtschaftspsychologie, 10(3), 18-29.

Grube, A., Schroer, J., Hentzschel, C. & Hertel, G. (2008). The Event Reconstruction Method: An efficient measure of experience-based job satisfaction. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 81, 669-689.

Roßnagel, C., & Hertel, G. (2006). Altersbedingte Unterschiede in Inhalten und im Zustandekommen von Arbeitsmotivation und Arbeitszufriedenheit. Zeitschrift für Arbeitswissenschaft, 60, 181-186.


Innovation award "Altern und Arbeit" ["Aging and Work"] 2009 of the Marie-Luise and Ernst Becker Foundation