Benefits of a supportive development climate for older workers

  • Armstrong-Stassen M
  • Schlosser F
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Abstract

Purpose – This study aims to test a model of the relationships among older workers' propensity to engage in development activities (development orientation), their perceptions of the development opportunities associated with their job (job development climate), their commitment to their organization, and their intention to remain with their organization. Design/methodology/approach – Separate questionnaires were completed by 395 individuals aged 50 to 70, who were in their career job and 195 individuals aged 50 to 70 who were employed in a bridge job. Both questionnaires included measures of development orientation, job development climate, affective commitment and intention to remain as well as individual characteristics and organizational characteristics. Findings – The findings supported the proposed model in that development orientation was positively related to job development climate which, in turn, was positively related to affective commitment and affective commitment was positively related to intention to remain with the organization. There were both similarities and differences in the patterns of relationships for career-job and bridge-job respondents. Research limitations/implications – The question of causality cannot be determined because of the cross-sectional research design. Practical implications – To create a supportive development climate and retain older workers, employers need to foster older workers' development orientation and ensure that their work assignments provide opportunities to learn new knowledge and skills. Orginality/value – There is little empirical research addressing issues related to the development and retention of older workers. No previous studies have investigated both development orientation and job development climate in the context of older workers.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Employee development
  • Older workers
  • Training
  • Workplace learning

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Authors

  • Marjorie Armstrong-Stassen

  • Francine Schlosser

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