You Can Leave the Younger Workers Out of It! Toward a Centered Paradigm for Studying Older Workers’ Employment Relationships and Late-Career Dynamics

Rajiv K. Amarnani*, Prashant Bordia, Patrick R.J.M. Garcia, Imogen Sykes-Bridge

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Are late careers worth studying in their own right? The way we think and reason about older workers and late careers—in scholarship and in practice—has been disproportionately informed by a research paradigm that focuses on age differences among employees, which captures how older workers on average differ from younger workers on average. While this contrastive paradigm has been generative, it can also inaccurately portray older workers as a static, homogenous group. In contrast, older workers show considerable heterogeneity (older workers vary), meaningful dynamics (older workers change), and dynamic heterogeneity (older workers vary in how they change). In this paper, we propose that the contrastive paradigm be complemented with a centered paradigm that centers on how older workers vary and change. We develop a theoretical model of how older worker dynamics and older worker heterogeneity shape the quality of their employment relationship—in terms of psychological contracts—which in turn shape their career trajectories and work role enactment. By centering this line of research on older workers, we gain a higher-resolution view of these late careers as unfolding over time and varying among older workers.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)436-467
    Number of pages32
    JournalGroup and Organization Management
    Volume48
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

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