Ageing workers in SMEs and the influence on corporate’s internationalization

Tina Zahel, Franz Jozef Gellert

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The „Ageing of Europe‟ phenomenon is related to a higher life expectancy of European inhabitants as well as to decreasing fertility and mortality rates. Those developments affect small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) because the number of older workers in SMEs is increasing too. Our research investigates whether older workers support corporation‟s internationalization. The research was conducted in SMEs in Germany, the Netherlands and United Kingdom by using a mixed method approach (questionnaires and interviews). Respondents provided us with 62 filled questionnaires and results of six semi-structured interviews. Data were analyzed by simply searching for answer patterns. Findings revealed that older workers remain professional to keep international relationships running although older workers show less developed language skills, cultural awareness and flexibility. In the future, SMEs in Europe should offer trainings for older workers in foreign languages, how to work in an international environment and how to increase cultural difference awareness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-25
JournalResearch innovator
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


  • ageing workers
  • SMEs
  • internationalization


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