Transferring the knowledge: career adaptability and generativity of post-retirement age citizens interested in becoming workplace mentors

PhD Thesis


Luke, Jennifer R.. 2021. Transferring the knowledge: career adaptability and generativity of post-retirement age citizens interested in becoming workplace mentors. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland. https://doi.org/10.26192/p64g-3s02
Title

Transferring the knowledge: career adaptability and generativity of post-retirement age citizens interested in becoming workplace mentors

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorLuke, Jennifer R.
SupervisorMcIlveen, Peter
Perera, Harsha
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages257
Year2021
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26192/p64g-3s02
Abstract

An ageing population is a dominant global demographic occurrence, creating repercussions in the retention of workforce expertise. The immediate need for an injection of skills from older workers to strengthen productivity has been promoted by policy makers globally (Australian Treasury, 2015; OECD, 2019; United Nations 2020). Following initial research that investigated career adaptabilities and motivations of retirees re-engaging with career (Luke et al., 2016), the aim of this thesis extends the focus to mentorship as a solution for retaining knowledge within the workforce. The psychosocial constructs of generativity (Erikson, 1959) and career adaptability (Savickas, 2005) are combined in identifying those of post-retirement age who have a willingness to re-engage with the workforce, and successfully transfer knowledge to younger generations. Two studies were conducted using a mixed methods approach, with the first qualitative study consisting of semi-structured interviews with participants of post-retirement age (N = 30), to investigate career experiences, generativity, career adaptability, and interest in mentoring. Via thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006), Adaptabilities emerged as a major theme, with generativity and mentorship permeating through the other themes of Social Relevance, Benefits to Workforce, Prosocial Behaviour, Meaningful Work, and Negative Self. All six themes informed the creation of a Meaningful Work Conceptual Framework that incorporated the Career Construction Adaptation Model (Savickas & Porfeli, 2012). This model was tested in the quantitative second study. The themes informed the selection of measures for the online survey that was completed by post-retirement age participants primarily located in Australia or the UK. Survey sample data (N = 548) enabled hypothesis testing via regression and mediation, of the relationships between variables within the Meaningful Work Conceptual Framework and Career Construction Adaptation Model. Mediation hypotheses of the Career Construction Adaptation Model were supported. Also, there were significant relations between Interest in Mentoring, Adaptation, and several Generativity sub-measures. Two elements of Generativity (Significant Contribution and Taking Responsibility) were identified as not significant to Interest in Mentoring, of which conflicted with Study 1 interview results regarding strong intent to pursue these generative behaviours and attitude. An additional exploratory analysis focused on Mattering (Adaptation) mediating the effect of Generativity to Interest in Mentoring. Full mediation was not achieved, however significant relationships were found between all three variables. While further research is still needed due to the contradictory findings of Generativity elements (Significant Contribution and Taking Responsibility), both studies were guided by theoretical literature, resulting in a qualitative study rich with themes, that provided ample evidence for the construction of a conceptual framework focused on attaining meaningful work. Findings from both studies provide valuable knowledge for future interventions targeting the successful recruitment of older workers who possess the willingness and career adaptability to provide mentorship and, in the process, attain meaningful work. Further theoretical and practical implications of the overall research results are discussed within the final chapter of this thesis, with recommendations for further research.

KeywordsPost-retirement, career engagement, transition, career construction adaptation model, generativity, mentoring, career adaptability, meaningful work, vocational psychology, mixed methods
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020520501. Community psychology
520199. Applied and developmental psychology not elsewhere classified
520106. Psychology of ageing
350507. Workplace wellbeing and quality of working life
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Education
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