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The experiences of human resource professionals in managing career development of an ageing workforce: a narrative thematic analysis

Irene Mok (School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia) (Ageing and Health Research Group, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)
Lynette Mackenzie (School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia) (Ageing and Health Research Group, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)
Kate Thomson (School of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)

Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management

ISSN: 1746-5648

Article publication date: 31 October 2022

Issue publication date: 22 March 2023

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to understand the experience of human resource (HR) professionals in managing career development for older workers. It focuses on the influence of personal, social and organisational experiences of HR professionals on (1) their approach to career development of older workers and (2) their organisation's career development practices for older workers.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected through individual semi-structured interviews with 14 HR professionals from large organisations with at least half of their workforce aged 45 and above. The transcripts were analysed thematically, with the coding process informed by Ricoeur's theory of interpretation.

Findings

Three main themes emerged within the HR professionals' narratives. They identified with (1) the protagonist mindset in career development stories, (2) the enabling enforcer of individualised career development practices and (3) the agent for change in career development practices.

Practical implications

This study shows that a narrative thematic analysis can be used to explore how the experiences of HR professionals can affect the design and implementation of career development strategies for this cohort of workers. Further, recruiting HR professionals with a protagonist mindset can generate organisational practices inclusive of older workers.

Originality/value

This study is one of the first to focus on the role of HR professionals in managing career development practices for older workers and the influence of supportive managers on their attitudes and actions with older workers.

Keywords

Citation

Mok, I., Mackenzie, L. and Thomson, K. (2023), "The experiences of human resource professionals in managing career development of an ageing workforce: a narrative thematic analysis", Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 67-83. https://doi.org/10.1108/QROM-09-2021-2217

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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