As reported by Science Daily, Dr Orlando Richard, associate professor of organisations, strategy and international management, described the phenomenon as ‘status incongruence’.
“This occurs when a subordinate is older or has more education, work experience, and/or organisational tenure than the supervisor,” he explained.
Leaders with the goal of change rely heavily on creating an environment where managers are expected to inspire employees to share in the leader’s vision, said the report.
“But what happens when your boss is less experienced or younger than you? You are less likely to respond to their leadership style. It also affects the level of commitment you have to the organisation because you feel you are more qualified than they are,” he explained.
An employee’s level of comfort and trust with a manager is closely tied with their productivity, performance, and commitment to the company, said Richard.
HR should therefore ensure that the right leader is in place. Putting the wrong person in charge could create resentment among employees and cause more problems down the road. “No one wants to work for someone who they feel doesn’t have the credentials,” he added.
Richard and his co-researchers also studied what effects gender and change-heavy leadership would have on an employee’s commitment.
The study, conducted in Turkey and the US, found that older employees in Turkey were less inclined to believe in a younger, male leader. In the US, this proved the same for women.
“Women in management have to especially have the credential in order to demand respect. If they do, and they display transformational leadership, they’ll experience more commitment from their employees,” they concluded.
In a recent study conducted by the University of Texas, young managers had difficulty commanding respect from their older subordinates when trying to bring in workplace change.