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An introduction to the work and well‐being of older workers: From managing threats to creating opportunities

Maria C.W. Peeters (Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands)
Hetty van Emmerik (Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 2 May 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The article's aim is to introduce the papers contained in this special issue of the Journal of Managerial Psychology.

Design/methodology/approach

Specifically the present article starts by discussing the meaning of the factor age and by considering who is actually termed an older worker. Next, the consequences of cognitive, physical and mental changes during the aging process for work and organizations are being discussed. Before presenting a general introduction to the research contributions that are included in this special issue, a plea is made for a more positive approach to older employees. The article presents a literature review, a discussion of the main topics and suggestions for future pathways for research and HRM.

Findings

It is indisputable that some cognitive, physical and mental changes take place while people grow older. However, what is less certain is how these changes impede on employees' well‐being. Recently, scholars seem to agree that the picture is not as negative as one used to think.

Research limitations/implications

The implications are: use different conceptualizations of age; focus on the process of aging instead of on age as a factor; shift the focus from managing threats to creating opportunities.

Practical implications

It is in both employers' and employees' interest to make the best use of employees of all ages and to manage employees in accordance with individual attributes and capacities rather than by making assumptions based on age.

Originality/value

The article frames the issues and sets the stage for a more positive approach towards older workers.

Keywords

Citation

Peeters, M.C.W. and van Emmerik, H. (2008), "An introduction to the work and well‐being of older workers: From managing threats to creating opportunities", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 353-363. https://doi.org/10.1108/02683940810869006

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited