Successful aging at work: A process model to guide future research and practice

Dorien Kooij, Hannes Zacher, Mo Wang, Jutta Heckhausen

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Abstract

Although aging workforces result in numerous practical challenges for organizations and societies, little research has focused on successful aging at work. The limited existent research has generated rather diverse conceptualizations of successful aging at work, which are often broad and difficult to operationalize in practice. Therefore, to advance research and practice, we offer a specific and practical conceptualization of successful aging at work by developing a process model, which identifies relevant antecedents and mechanisms. In particular, we define successful aging at work as the proactive maintenance of, or adaptive recovery (after decline) to, high levels of ability and motivation to continue working among older workers. We also argue
that proactive efforts to maintain, or adaptive efforts to recover and restore, high ability and motivation to continue working result from a self-regulation process that involves goal engagement and disengagement strategies to maintain, adjust, and restore person-environment fit. Further, we propose that at various levels (i.e., person, job, work group, organization, and society) more distal factors function as antecedents of this self-regulation process, with age
related bias and discrimination potentially operating at each level. Finally, we offer a roadmap for future research and practical applications.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-55
JournalIndustrial and Organizational Psychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

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abstract = "Although aging workforces result in numerous practical challenges for organizations and societies, little research has focused on successful aging at work. The limited existent research has generated rather diverse conceptualizations of successful aging at work, which are often broad and difficult to operationalize in practice. Therefore, to advance research and practice, we offer a specific and practical conceptualization of successful aging at work by developing a process model, which identifies relevant antecedents and mechanisms. In particular, we define successful aging at work as the proactive maintenance of, or adaptive recovery (after decline) to, high levels of ability and motivation to continue working among older workers. We also argue that proactive efforts to maintain, or adaptive efforts to recover and restore, high ability and motivation to continue working result from a self-regulation process that involves goal engagement and disengagement strategies to maintain, adjust, and restore person-environment fit. Further, we propose that at various levels (i.e., person, job, work group, organization, and society) more distal factors function as antecedents of this self-regulation process, with agerelated bias and discrimination potentially operating at each level. Finally, we offer a roadmap for future research and practical applications.",
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Successful aging at work : A process model to guide future research and practice. / Kooij, Dorien; Zacher, Hannes; Wang, Mo; Heckhausen, Jutta.

In: Industrial and Organizational Psychology, 2020, p. 1-55.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AU - Wang, Mo

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AB - Although aging workforces result in numerous practical challenges for organizations and societies, little research has focused on successful aging at work. The limited existent research has generated rather diverse conceptualizations of successful aging at work, which are often broad and difficult to operationalize in practice. Therefore, to advance research and practice, we offer a specific and practical conceptualization of successful aging at work by developing a process model, which identifies relevant antecedents and mechanisms. In particular, we define successful aging at work as the proactive maintenance of, or adaptive recovery (after decline) to, high levels of ability and motivation to continue working among older workers. We also argue that proactive efforts to maintain, or adaptive efforts to recover and restore, high ability and motivation to continue working result from a self-regulation process that involves goal engagement and disengagement strategies to maintain, adjust, and restore person-environment fit. Further, we propose that at various levels (i.e., person, job, work group, organization, and society) more distal factors function as antecedents of this self-regulation process, with agerelated bias and discrimination potentially operating at each level. Finally, we offer a roadmap for future research and practical applications.

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