The aging workforce: perceptions of career ending

Dirk Buyens (HRM Centre, Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School, Gent, Belgium)
Hans Van Dijk (HRM Centre, Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School, Gent, Belgium)
Thomas Dewilde (HRM Centre, Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School, Gent, Belgium)
Ans De Vos (HRM Centre, Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School, Gent, Belgium)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Publication date: 13 February 2009

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is two‐fold. The first is to relate the negative image of older workers to stereotype threat and to propose that effective retention management should start by replacing this negative image. The second is to assess the needs, perceptions and preferences of older workers regarding their career‐ending.

Design/methodology/approach

A total of 266 employer questionnaires and 1,290 older worker questionnaires identified the employers' perceptions of older workers and the career‐ending needs and preferences of older workers.

Findings

The results provide indirect support for the hypothesis that the negative image of older workers forms a self‐fulfilling prophecy due to the mechanisms of stereotype threat. Furthermore, the results indicate that job involvement plays a crucial role in the preference for retirement or to keep on working.

Research limitations/implications

Stereotype threat promises to be very important when it comes to career‐ending measures for older workers. However, the empirical design of the study limits the possibility of drawing direct inferences about the effects of stereotype threat on older workers.

Practical implications

Measures and policies aimed at prolonging the participation of older workers at the labor market should be tailored to the specific needs, perceptions and preferences of older workers.

Originality/value

The concept of stereotype threat has never been connected with the perceptions of older workers. Further, the assessment of the needs, perceptions and preferences related to the career‐ending of older workers has never before been examined in a European study.

Keywords

Citation

Buyens, D., Van Dijk, H., Dewilde, T. and De Vos, A. (2009), "The aging workforce: perceptions of career ending", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 24 No. 2, pp. 102-117. https://doi.org/10.1108/02683940910928838

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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