The Changing Nature of Work and Retirement

Kenneth S. Shultz and Deborah A. Olson

in The Oxford Handbook of Retirement

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199746521
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

The Changing Nature of Work and Retirement

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  • Psychology
  • Organizational Psychology
  • Social Psychology



We begin this chapter with a discussion of the macro-level changes, such as globalization, diversity, and technological advancements, that are changing work in the twenty-first century. Then, we discuss the more prominent micro-level changes influencing the nature of work, such as opportunities for lifelong learning and rewards; changes with regard to employee expectations, particularly with regard to work-life balance and personal flexibility; and an increased focus on the use of talents. Next, we shift to discussing the changing nature of retirement, examining how individual attributes, job and organizational factors, family factors, and socioeconomic factors are all changing the way we think about retirement. We next focus on two emerging concepts, work ability and bridge employment, and examine how they are shaping how we think about retirement in the twenty-first century. The need to look at both the antecedents and outcomes of retirement from a multilevel perspective is discussed next, before we conclude with several recommendations for future research.

Keywords: retirement; bridge employment; work ability; use of talents; older workers; mid- and late career

Article.  11730 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Organizational Psychology ; Social Psychology

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