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Later life work: individual, job, and organizational factors for retirement timing and work beyond normal retirement age

  • The choice to continue working until or even beyond retirement is a function of the interplay of factors on micro, meso, and macro levels. Research within this area has grown significantly over the last years. I contribute to this line of research with the studies conducted within the scope of this cumulative habilitation thesis. More specifically, the aim of the research presented here is to add to the literature on later life work with the investigation of individual (micro level) as well as job and organizational (meso level) factors that have the potential to contribute to prolonged working lives. I was guided by the general research interest on how individual, job, and organizational factors contribute to later life work, and more specifically to retirement timing and work-related activities beyond normal retirement age. My research was directed by the following research questions: (1) What is the work activity potential of older people in Germany and what characterizes different types of later life work potential? (2) Which role do individual psychological factors such as personality, values, and beliefs play in the context of later life work? (3) How do specific job characteristics interact or align with individual psychological factors with regard to later life work? (4) What characterizes a holistic organizational approach to later life work that helps the alignment of the work environment to older workers’ (individual) needs and abilities? Following an introduction, I give an overview on the theoretical framework of my research in Chapter 2 (“Theoretical Background”). I describe the conceptualization of later life work before I go into multilevel antecedents of later life work and present key theoretical approaches to a person-environment fit perspective of later life work. In the following four chapters, I present ten studies corresponding to the ten scientific publications that constitute the basis of the cumulative habilitation thesis. In Chapter 3 (“Later Life Work: Work Activity Potential”) I present research on the extent as well as different types of later life work potential in Germany to describe the context for most of my research. With the two studies presented here (Büsch, Zohr, Brusch, Deller, Schermuly, Stamov-Roßnagel, & Wöhrmann, 2015; Mergenthaler, Wöhrmann, & Staudinger; 2015), I also intend to provide answers to the research question on the later life work potential in Germany and the characteristics of different later life work potential constellations. In Chapter 4 (“Later Life Work: Individual Psychological Factors”) the role of stable as well as malleable individual psychological factors for later life work is explored in two studies (Fasbender, Wöhrmann, Wang, & Klehe, 2019; Wöhrmann, Fasbender, & Deller, 2016). Thus, with the studies presented in this chapter, I contribute to the research question on the role of individual psychological factors in the context of later life work. In Chapter 5 (“Later Life Work: Job Characteristics Corresponding to Older Workers’ Needs and Abilities”) I present three studies exploring the interplay of individual factors and job characteristics for later life work to address the research question on the interaction or alignment of specific job characteristics with individual psychological factors with regard to later life work (Pundt, Wöhrmann, Deller, & Shultz, 2015; Wöhrmann, Brauner, & Michel, 2020; Wöhrmann, Fasbender, & Deller; 2017). Chapter 6 (“Later Life Work: A Holistic Organizational Approach”) reports the development of the Later Life Workplace Index (LLWI) as a multidimensional tool to holistically assess organizational practices and working conditions targeted at the promotion of later life work through the maintenance and enhancement of older employees’ health, work ability, and motivation (Wilckens, Wöhrmann, Adams, Deller, & Finkelstein, 2020; Wilckens, Wöhrmann, Deller, & Wang, 2020; Wöhrmann, Pundt, & Deller, 2018. With the LLWI, I intend to provide an answer to the research question on the characteristics of a holistic organizational approach to later life work that helps the alignment of the work environment to older workers’ (individual) needs and abilities. Finally, in Chapter 7 (“General Discussion”) I discuss the contributions, implications, and limitations of my research presented here.

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Author:Anne Marit Wöhrmann (Dr. phil.)ORCiDGND
Title Additional (German):Arbeit im späteren Leben: Individuell, arbeitsbezogene und organisationale Faktoren für den Ruhestandszeitpunkt und Arbeit jenseits des regulären Ruhestandsalters
Advisor:Jürgen Deller (Prof. Dr.)
Document Type:Habilitation
Year of Completion:2022
Date of Publication (online):2022/05/16
Publishing Institution:Leuphana Universität Lüneburg, Universitätsbibliothek der Leuphana Universität Lüneburg
Granting Institution:Leuphana Universität Lüneburg
Date of final exam:2022/03/30
Release Date:2022/05/16
Pagenumber:79 + Anhang
Das Rahmenpapier der kumulativen Habilitationsschrift enthält 10 Beiträge
Institutes:Fakultät Wirtschaftswissenschaften / Institut für Management und Organisation (IMO)
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht