Factors influencing leave intentions among older workers: a moderated-mediation model

Timothy Andrew Bentley (School of Management, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand)
Stephen T. Teo (School of Business and Law, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia)
Bevan Catley (School of Management, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand)
Kate Blackwood (School of Management, Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand)
Maree Roche (University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand)
Michael P. O’Driscoll (School of Psychology, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Publication date: 4 June 2019



The engagement and retention of older workers is a major concern for organisations and has been an increasing focus for human resource scholars internationally. Drawing on social exchange theory (SET), the purpose of this paper is to examine the conditions under which retention and engagement of older workers could be enhanced, together with the potential for perceptions of age discrimination to negatively influence these outcomes.


The study surveyed a large sample of New Zealand workers aged 55 years and over from across 28 New Zealand organisations of varying size and from a wide range of industrial sectors. A moderated-mediation model was proposed to examine the relationship between perceived organisational support (POS) and intention to leave, the mediating effect of job engagement in this relationship, and the moderating influence of perceived age discrimination on this mediation.


While POS was negatively related to workers’ intention to quit, job engagement partially mediated this relationship. Age discrimination moderated this mediation. As perceived age discrimination increased, the mediation of job engagement was weakened as POS had less influence on the job engagement of older workers.

Research limitations/implications

Implications for human resource management practice include the importance of providing organisational support for older workers along with protections from age bias and discrimination.


The study is one of the first to apply SET to the context of older workers, and has extended the SET literature through its examination of the role of employee engagement as a mediator of this relationship, and how perceived age discrimination, as a negative aspect of the work environment, can negatively impact these relationships.



Timothy Andrew Bentley, Stephen T. Teo, Bevan Catley, Kate Blackwood, Maree Roche and Michael P. O’Driscoll (2019) "Factors influencing leave intentions among older workers: a moderated-mediation model", Personnel Review, Vol. 48 No. 4, pp. 898-914

Download as .RIS


: https://doi.org/10.1108/PR-03-2018-0095



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.