Title: Individual competencies that older workers use in successfully adapting during their careers

Authors: J. Barton Cunningham, Bryan Sweet

Addresses: School of Public Administration, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, V8W 2Y2, Canada. ' School of Public Administration, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, V8W 2Y2, Canada

Abstract: Some older workers are more successful than others in maintaining a high level of functioning despite losses in psychological and biological capacities. In this grounded theory study of the careers of eight older workers, we identified ten Protean-like competencies relating to: replacing beliefs about chronological age with beliefs of psychological age; taking steps to improve health; adjusting preferences to fit life|s circumstances; cultivating relationships to improve work and career; developing relationships which recognise a diversity of interests; developing relationships for mentoring others; developing a sense of self in relationships; redefining the contract with the organisation; finding aspects of work which are meaningful and fulfilling; replacing job worth with self-worth. One of the most frequent observations underlying these findings was the variation among the respondents in their beliefs about the ability to control the events they encountered in their lives.

Keywords: successful ageing; Protean career development; employee competencies; successful career adaptation; ageing workforce; older workers; health improvement.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHRDM.2009.023453

International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management, 2009 Vol.9 No.2/3, pp.198 - 222

Published online: 24 Feb 2009 *

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