PurposeThe aging workforce is becoming an increasingly important topic in today’s labor market. However, most scientific research and organizational policies focus on chronological age as the main determinant of successful aging. Based on life span developmental theories – primarily socioemotional selectivity theory and motivational theory of life span development – the purpose of this paper is to test the added value of using subjective age – in terms of remaining opportunities and remaining time – over and above chronological age in their associations with motivation at work and motivation to work.Design/methodology/approachWorkers from five different divisions throughout the Netherlands (n=186) from a taxi company participated in the survey study.FindingsThe results from the regression analyses and structural equation modeling analyses support the hypotheses: when subjective age was included in the models, chronological age was virtually unrelated to workers’ intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, and motivation to continue to work for one’s organization. Moreover, subjective age was strongly related to work motivation. Specifically, workers who perceived many remaining opportunities were more intrinsically and extrinsically motivated, and those who perceived a lot of remaining time were more motivated across the board.Originality/valueThe findings indicate that subjective age is an important concept to include in studies focussing on successful aging, thereby contributing to life span developmental theories. Further implications for research and practice are discussed.
Career Developmentinternational – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 8, 2016
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