Digital native or digital immigrant? Using intraorganizational resources to develop technological competence among older employees

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Development and Learning in Organizations


Purpose: The purpose of this viewpoint article is to demonstrate that firms can utilize intraorganizational resources to aid in helping older workers become technologically competent. Through the use of these intraorganizational resources, firms can benefit from the transfer of technological knowledge between younger and older workers. A further benefit is cost savings associated with utilization of internal as opposed to external resources. Design/methodology/approach: This paper is a viewpoint article which demonstrates and raises awareness of some elementary internal resources which can aid in the development of older workers’ technological competence. Findings: There exists a marked difference between younger and older workers and the associated technological competence of each. Implementing a mentoring process which matches recent college graduates or younger workers, digital natives, with older workers, digital immigrants, who are either returning to the workforce or transitioning to jobs which require technological skills, can aid in knowledge transfer of proprietary and public software programs and has the potential to lead to improved employee relationships. Originality/value: This paper addresses the development and utilization of internal as opposed to external resources in aiding older workers gaining technological competence. These workers may be returning to the workforce or transitioning to jobs which require more technological knowledge, and, by providing a system to support this transition, both, firms and employees can benefit.

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