M-WOS Survey

The M-WOS Survey is our key research methodology.

M-WOS (Mature Workers in Organisations Survey) is a longitudinal multi-level study that eventually will include at least 10 organisations and at least 2000 mature workers. Most existing longitudinal research on ageing focuses on individuals within households, whereas M-WOS is unique in Australia in its organisation-based approach. It allows us to examine organisational processes and work-place interventions, at the same time as assessing individual practices.

Two main components

1. Longitudinal survey of individuals across the organisations

Data is being collected from three main sources:

1.1  Individuals over the age of 45 years within each organisation will be surveyed every second year.

1.2  Matched younger peers will be surveyed on similar measures, in order to provide comparison.

1.3  Supervisors will assess the performance of mature workers and their peers; and partners/spouses of the mature workers will (where applicable) provide additional reports.

The longitudinal design of the study enables:

  • Assessment of causality

  • Capturing the effects of any naturally-occurring changes occurring within the workplace (such as the introduction of new technology and/or new policies) or interventions

  • Continuous tracking of individuals who move into retirement and/or bridging forms of employment (that is, the design will be simultaneously individual and organisational).

  • A sub-sampling strategy will also be used where relevant to provide more in-depth data on some topics (e.g., objective measures of health, age discrimination, specific challenges for mature workers with care responsibilities).

2. Case study and policy audit within each organisation/business unit

A case study and policy audit be conducted to determine the evolution of organisational practice. We aim to capture baseline policy data as well as any changes in policies that occur throughout the duration of the research.

For each of the participating organisations, we expect these to involve:

  1. a policy audit, using documentary analysis
  2. audits of HR practices, and
  3. focused interviews with key informants at two points in time

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