Research Topic

Advances in Research on Age in the Workplace and Retirement

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Shifts in the age composition of the workforce coupled with dynamic definitions of retirement represent important issues that influence work processes and, more generally, the experience of working across one’s career. For example, redefinitions of careers and the changing nature of working have contributed ...

Shifts in the age composition of the workforce coupled with dynamic definitions of retirement represent important issues that influence work processes and, more generally, the experience of working across one’s career. For example, redefinitions of careers and the changing nature of working have contributed to the emergence of distinct forms and patterns of work experiences across the prototypical work lifespan. Likewise, older individuals are increasingly delaying retirement in favor of longer-term labor force participation. The study of age and work, and work and retirement by industrial, work, and organizational (IWO) psychologists and scholars of human resources management and organizational behavior (HR/OB) has recently proliferated in part as a result of such trends, along with the recognition that age-related processes are important indicators of various proximal (e.g., job attitudes, work behaviors, work motives, and wellbeing) and distal outcomes (e.g., sustainable employability, climates for aging, and firm performance) at various levels of abstraction in modern work environments.

Recent theoretical advances have suggested that age, along with individual psychological factors and various contextual influences can jointly influence work outcomes that contribute to long-term employment success, including work performance, job attitudes, work orientations, and motivations. Similar theoretical developments concerning retirement have postulated individual and contextual elements that drive success in the transition from career and work roles to non-work and leisure as well as post-retirement bridge employment roles.

In this Research Topic, we aim to curate a collection of papers that are representative of current trends and advances in thinking about and investigating the role of age in workplace processes and the changing nature of retirement. Our hope is to showcase various contemporary ideas and rigorous empirical studies as a means to inform broader thinking and to support enhanced theorizing and organizational practice regarding these processes.

We are especially interested in papers that:
• Adopt multilevel perspectives on age at work, and in particular those that consider the role of individual, job, team, organizational/HR practices, and/or societal influences along with work-related outcomes.
• Theorize and test mediators/moderators of relationships between age and work-related outcomes.
• Consider reciprocal influences between working and the aging process.
• Conceptualize and operationalize successful and unsuccessful aging; active, healthy, sustainable, and productive aging; and generally consider “aging well” at work.
• Assume different definitions, conceptualizations, and operationalizations of age (e.g., functional age, subjective age, relative age, etc.).
• Study how age diversity influences proximal process and distal outcome variables at the within-person, between-person, group/team, and organizational levels of analysis.
• Demonstrate links between IWO/HR/OB topics and age that are thus-far under-researched (e.g., recruitment and retention of older workers, age-informed job design, leadership and age, age and long-term objective/subjective wellbeing at work).
• Investigate vertical and/or horizontal dyads (i.e., age differences between employees and their supervisors; age differences among employees within workgroups).
• Model novel influences on retirement adjustment, planning, and transitions, along with the long-term development of well-being after retirement.
• Offer implications of lifespan development for working, career development, and retirement.

We will consider various types of submissions including (mini-)reviews, conceptual papers, opinion pieces, and methodological articles, however, we are particularly interested in empirical studies that advance our understanding of these issue. Likewise, we encourage authors to engage various methodologies, including meta-analysis, laboratory/field experiments, evaluations of interventions, ecological momentary assessments/experience sampling designs, experimental vignette studies, longitudinal/panel studies, and qualitative/mixed methodologies. We also encourage the re-analysis of publicly available datasets and urge conceptual and constructive replications. We encourage the submission of studies with high statistical power and will consider null findings of studies with demonstrably adequate statistical power and appropriate study design features.


Keywords: work, aging, retirement, successful aging, careers, well-being, older workers


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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