Getting old at the top – age and leadership | Redefining measurement of lost-work opportunity | 19th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey

Getting old at the top – age and leadership

Thrasher, G. R., Biermeier-Hanson, B., & Dickson, M. W. (2020). Getting Old at the Top: The Role of Agentic and Communal Orientations in the Relationship Between Age and Follower Perceptions of Leadership Behaviors and Outcomes. Work, Aging and Retirement, 6(1), 46-58.

Leadership behaviors and the outcomes they foster have historically been central issues to organizational researchers and practitioners alike. Despite the continuing rise in the average age of the workforce, empirical research on leadership from a lifespan development perspective remains surprisingly rare. The current study applies socioemotional selectivity theory (SST) to address this gap in the literature in several ways. We test a holistic socioemotional model of age and leadership that examines dominance and amicability as agentic and communal mediators in the relationship between age and follower ratings of leadership behaviors and effectiveness. To accomplish this goal, we apply multisource data from a sample of 422 leaders with 2,016 follower ratings. We offer empirical support for a socioemotional model of age and leadership that highlights the role of communal shifts in the relationship between age and follower perceptions of leadership behaviors. Specifically, we find a positive mediating effect of amicability in the relationship between age and follower-rated relational-oriented leadership behaviors. Age also displayed a sequential mediating effect on effectiveness through amicability and relational-oriented leadership behaviors. Our results highlight the unique role that age-related changes in social orientations play in the perceptions of leadership behaviors and outcomes across the lifespan. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

Redefining measurement of lost-work opportunity

Voss, M. W., Al Snih, S., Li, W., Hung, M., & Richards, L. G. (2020). Boundaries of the Construct of Unemployment in the Preretirement Years: Exploring an Expanded Measurement of Lost-Work Opportunity. Work, Aging and Retirement, 6(1), 59-63.

There is uncertainty related to whether retirement negatively affects health—possibly due to complexity around retirement decisions. Lost-work opportunity through unemployment or forced retirement has been shown to negatively affect health. Lost-work opportunity can be captured in two measurement fields, either a reported experience of being forced into retirement or reported unemployment. However, 17% of individuals retiring due to the loss of work opportunity identified in qualitative interviewing (i.e., unemployment, temporary lay-offs, company buy-outs, forced relocations, etc.) do not report this unemployment or involuntary retirement in quantitative survey responses. We propose broadening the conceptualization of late-career unemployment to incorporate other lost work opportunity scenarios.

19th Annual Transamerica Retirement Survey

This study is one of the largest and longest-running of its kind. In 2018 more than 5,100 workers and1,800 employers were surveyed. The survey was conducted by The Harris Poll, an independent research company. The robust, nationally representative sample enables TCRS to explore many different demographic segments among workers and by company size among employers.

The following research reports are available:

  • A Compendium of Findings About U.S. Workers
  • Nineteen Facts About Women and Retirement
  • Employers: The Retirement Security Challenge
  • Self-Employed: Defying and Redefining Retirement
  • What Is “Retirement”? Three Generations Prepare for Older Age