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Article
Publication date: 11 December 2019

Hendrik P. van Dalen and Kène Henkens

The purpose of this paper is to see whether attitudes toward older workers by managers change over time and what might explain development over time.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to see whether attitudes toward older workers by managers change over time and what might explain development over time.

Design/methodology/approach

A unique panel study of Dutch managers is used to track the development of their attitudes toward older workers over time (2010–2013) by focusing on a set of qualities of older workers aged 50 and older. A conditional change model is used to explain the variation in changes by focusing on characteristics of the manager (age, education, gender, tenure and contact with older workers) and of the firm (composition staff, type of work and sector, size).

Findings

Managers have significantly adjusted their views on the so-called “soft skills” of older workers, like reliability and loyalty. Attitudes toward “hard skills” – like physical stamina, new tech skills and willingness to train – have not changed. Important drivers behind these changes are the age of the manager – the older the manager, the more likely a positive change in attitude toward older workers can be observed – and the change in the quality of contact with older workers. A deterioration of the managers’ relationship with older workers tends to correspond with a decline in their assessment of soft and hard skills.

Social implications

Attitudes are not very susceptible to change but this study shows that a significant change can be expected simply from the fact that managers age: older managers tend to have a more positive assessment of the hard and soft skills of older workers than young managers.

Originality/value

This paper offers novel insights into the question whether stereotypes of managers change over time.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 41 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

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Article
Publication date: 15 June 2010

Kène Henkens and Monique Leenders

The central theme of this article is early retirement intentions and burnout among older workers. The paper aims to investigate whether there is a relationship between the…

Abstract

Purpose

The central theme of this article is early retirement intentions and burnout among older workers. The paper aims to investigate whether there is a relationship between the burnout dimensions exhaustion, cynicism and competence and retirement intentions.

Design/methodology/approach

The data were taken from a survey held among Dutch older workers (50+) and their spouses (n=2,892).

Findings

The results show that a high workload, heavy physical work, lack of challenge, autonomy and social support from colleagues and managers are related to burnout complaints, although in a different way for the three dimensions. The results show that besides the effect of burnout, retirement intentions are related to the level of marital quality. Older workers who report a higher level of marital quality report a stronger intention to retire. Burnout and retirement intentions are related, but appear to have partly different predictors. While burnout can generally be explained by the work environment, non‐work related factors enhance the understanding of retirement intentions.

Originality/value

This study shows that actual retirement is often preceded by feelings of burnout, in particular a mental detachment from work and feelings of exhaustion.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 31 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

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Article
Publication date: 12 September 2016

Rita Chiesa, Stefano Toderi, Paola Dordoni, Kene Henkens, Elena Maria Fiabane and Ilaria Setti

The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between organizational age stereotypes and occupational self-efficacy. First, the authors intend to test the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between organizational age stereotypes and occupational self-efficacy. First, the authors intend to test the measurement invariance of Henkens’s (2005) age stereotypes scale across two age group, respectively, under 50 and 50 years and older. Then, the moderator role of age groups in the relationship between age stereotypes and occupational self-efficacy is investigated.

Design/methodology/approach

The survey involved a large sample of 4,667 Italian bank sector’s employees.

Findings

The results show the invariance of the three dimensional structure of organizational stereotypes towards older workers scale: productivity, reliability and adaptability. Furthermore, the moderation is confirmed: the relationship between organizational age stereotypes and occupational self-efficacy is significant only for older respondents.

Research limitations/implications

Future studies should aim to replicate the findings with longitudinal designs.

Practical implications

The study suggests the importance to emphasize the positive characteristics of older workers and to reduce the presence of negative age stereotypes in the workplace, especially in order to foster the occupational self-efficacy of older workers.

Originality/value

The findings are especially relevant in view of the lack of evidence about the relationship between age stereotypes and occupational self-efficacy.

Details

Journal of Managerial Psychology, vol. 31 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-3946

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 7 September 2012

Kène Henkens and Joop Schippers

The purpose of this paper (overview) is to provide a brief introduction to the topic of active ageing and summarise the seven studies included in this special issue. The…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper (overview) is to provide a brief introduction to the topic of active ageing and summarise the seven studies included in this special issue. The authors also acknowledge those who were instrumental in bringing this issue to fruition.

Design/methodology/approach

The International Journal of Manpower's usual double‐blind review process was used to select the seven papers included in this special issue. The papers themselves all have a cross‐national perspective using data from eight European countries. These papers represent a wide variety of designs, methodologies and analytic strategies used to study active ageing in the paid labour force as well as in civil society. The papers make use of large‐scale surveys among employers and volunteers, case studies in organisations, and vital statistics.

Findings

The findings of the studies included in this special issue provide insights into the factors and mechanisms that hamper higher participation levels of older adults in paid employment and civil society, and give suggestions on how to improve their inclusion and how to deal with an ageing workforce.

Originality/value

Taken as a collective, the papers in this special issue help propel forward in significant ways the study of active ageing from an international and interdisciplinary perspective.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 33 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 15 June 2010

Kenneth S. Shultz and Kène Henkens

The purpose of this overview is to provide a brief introduction to the topic of retirement, noting five key issues and directions for future research which are addressed…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this overview is to provide a brief introduction to the topic of retirement, noting five key issues and directions for future research which are addressed collectively in the compilation of papers that follow: the changing nature of retirement; the need for an interdisciplinary perspective on retirement; the need to look at both individual and organizational perspectives; international variations in contexts and processes; and the need for a broad methodological perspective. The authors then outline and summarize the seven studies included in this special issue, as well as acknowledge those who were instrumental in bringing this special issue to fruition.

Design/methodology/approach

The International Journal of Manpower's usual double blind review process was used to select the seven papers included in this special issue. The papers themselves represent a wide variety of designs, methodologies, and analytic strategies used to study retirement. In addition, a wide variety of disciplinary approaches and levels of analyses and perspectives are employed across the seven studies.

Findings

The findings of the studies included in this special issue touch on retirement planning and decision making, as well as employer perspectives on the global aging workforce.

Practical implications

Each article includes practical implications with regard to retirement for the country and/or constituents examined in the study.

Originality/value

Taken as a collective, the papers in this special issue help to propel forward in significant ways the study of retirement from an international and interdisciplinary perspective.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 31 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 15 June 2010

Hendrik P. van Dalen, Kène Henkens, Wilma Henderikse and Joop Schippers

This paper aims to examine whether employers' opinions and expectations regarding workers' retirement age are in line with the ideas of the EU‐Member States' governments…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to examine whether employers' opinions and expectations regarding workers' retirement age are in line with the ideas of the EU‐Member States' governments to increase the participation of older workers and to postpone the transition from paid work into retirement at the end of the labour market career.

Design/methodology/approach

A comparative survey was used among employers from five European countries: Greece, Hungary, Spain, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Findings

The authors found that most employers are reluctant in supporting later retirement. Part of this reluctance is the result of the perception that an ageing work force is a burden rather than a boom to organizations.

Originality/value

This study shows that there still is a discrepancy between the aims formulated at the level of the European Union and member state countries with respect to stimulating the labour force participation of older workers and the attitudes of individual employers. In particular, the fact that employers perceive alternative solutions to the challenges of an ageing and shrinking workforce, other than delaying retirement, suggests that most employers will not be a major driving force for extending the working life.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 31 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 7 September 2012

Wieteke S. Conen, Kène Henkens and Joop Schippers

Although policymakers have put great efforts into the promotion of older workers’ labour force participation, quantitative empirical knowledge about employers’ views…

Abstract

Purpose

Although policymakers have put great efforts into the promotion of older workers’ labour force participation, quantitative empirical knowledge about employers’ views towards extension of working lives is limited. The purpose of this paper is to improve the understanding of employers’ attitudes and actions towards extension of working lives, by examining recruitment and retention behaviour towards older workers, employers’ views on the consequences of an ageing workforce, organisational policies, and what governments can do to extend working lives.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors analyse surveys administered to employers in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Sweden and the UK in 2009.

Findings

It is found that a minority of employers have applied measures to recruit or retain older workers, and employers rather retain than hire older workers. A considerable share of employers, albeit to different degrees per country, associate the ageing of their staff with a growing gap between labour costs and productivity. Employers expecting a larger gap do not apply more organisational measures to either increase productivity or adjust the cost‐productivity balance. Employers may think the cost‐productivity issue is partly for governments to solve; employers expecting a larger cost‐productivity gap consider wage subsidies to be an effective measure to extend working lives.

Originality/value

The paper addresses the employers’ perspective, one that is often neglected compared to attitudes and behaviour of older workers themselves and research on institutional arrangements. This paper is also among the first to report on employers’ policies and practices from a cross‐national perspective.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 33 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 7 September 2012

Wieteke S. Conen, Hendrik P. van Dalen and Kène Henkens

The purpose of this paper is to examine employers’ perceptions of changes in the labour cost‐productivity gap due to the ageing of the workforce, the effects of tenure…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine employers’ perceptions of changes in the labour cost‐productivity gap due to the ageing of the workforce, the effects of tenure wages and employment protection on the perceived gap, and whether a perceived labour cost‐productivity gap affects employers’ recruitment and retention behaviour towards older workers.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors analyse surveys administered to employers in Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden.

Findings

Approximately half of employers associate the ageing of the personnel with a growing gap between labour costs and productivity. Both the presence of tenure wages and employment protection rules increase the probability of employers perceiving a widening labour cost‐productivity gap due to the ageing of their workforce. A counterfactual shows that even when employment protection and tenure wage systems are abolished, 40 percent of employers expect a net cost increase. The expected labour cost‐productivity gap negatively affects both recruitment and retention of older workers.

Originality/value

In this paper, the wage‐productivity gap is examined through the perceptions of employers using an international comparative survey.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 33 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 4 November 2013

Kasia Karpinska, Kene Henkens and Joop Schippers

This study aims to investigate the role of managers in the re-employment of early retirees and focuses on the effect of managers' age norms and stereotypes on managers'…

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to investigate the role of managers in the re-employment of early retirees and focuses on the effect of managers' age norms and stereotypes on managers' employment decisions.

Design/methodology/approach

A combination of a factorial study and a survey was conducted. First, information on the age norms and stereotypes was collected. Secondly, profiles of hypothetical retired job applicants were presented to the employers, who were asked to make a specific hiring decision. The information collected during both studies was combined in the analysis and multilevel models were estimated.

Findings

The results indicate that higher age norms (defined as age at which somebody is believed to be unable to work for 20 hours a week or more) result in a higher propensity to hire an early retiree. Stereotypes, by contrast, do not influence managers' decisions. Early retirees' chances for re-employment are also related to their own circumstances (physical appearance and relevant experience) and organisational forces, as they are hired when organisations face labour force shortages.

Research limitations/implications

With the use of vignettes study the authors deal with a hypothetical hiring situation.

Originality/value

Although the effect of attitudes has been often suggested, not much empirical evidence has been presented to support this notion. This study estimates the effect of age norms and stereotypes on hiring decision.

Details

Journal of Managerial Psychology, vol. 28 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-3946

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 7 September 2012

Andrea Principi, Robert Lindley, Jolanta Perek‐Bialas and Konrad Turek

The purpose of this paper is to shed light on organizational perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of engaging older volunteers, and on how they might best…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to shed light on organizational perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of engaging older volunteers, and on how they might best capitalize on the availability of older volunteers in different countries and sectors.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws from 74 case studies of voluntary organizations carried out in eight European countries, conducted mainly between spring 2009 and autumn 2010. On‐site interviews adopting common guidelines were carried out with organizational representatives.

Findings

From the organizational perspectives, some disadvantages of engaging older volunteers are: difficulties matching older volunteers to tasks; problems relating to health and declining capacities; the need for special training efforts. Examples of perceived advantages are: considerable knowledge, skills, experience, reliability and strong commitment of older volunteers. In spite of the very different contexts, objectives and notions of “performance”, cost‐benefit assessments of older volunteers do not differ greatly from those generally held by employers about older employees. Countries differ considerably in the recognition of older volunteer potential.

Practical implications

Organizational policies and initiatives to capitalize on the availability of older volunteers are examined in the paper. Country and sector‐related reflections show how different and changing are the environments for volunteering. Policy makers need to recognise these when implementing active ageing policies. Voluntary organizations should raise their awareness of the need for innovation in volunteer management, especially relating to older people.

Originality/value

There has been much research about the experiences of older volunteers and how they benefit from the operations of civil society organizations. The perceptions of the organizations have, however, been neglected and these are explored in this paper.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 33 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

Keywords

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