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Career plateauing in older managers: A systematic literature review

By Dianne Bown-Wilson


Economic changes have resulted in a new contextual spectrum for career development with relatively secure, hierarchical, organizational structures at one end and flatter, de-layered, insecure environments at the other. This narrative review explores the literature relating to the psychological determinants of career plateauing in older managers against such a background. The body of literature informing this issue was analysed using the systematic review method. This is designed to produce a transparent and replicable account of how pertinent studies are located and the basis on which they are either included or rejected through use of explicit relevance, generalisability, and quality criteria. The overall outcome is a synthesis and summary of what is known about the topic, the limitations of the review, and identification of gaps in knowledge - the latter forming recommendations for future research. The findings of this review indicate that a range of subjective determinants may play a part in career plateauing in older managers including fairly stable attributes such as personality, and individual and social identity, and more fluid factors such as attitudes, and motivation. Motivation may be driven by one or more goals including future success, present job satisfaction or ongoing personal development. Numerous other determinants may play a role but little evidence is available as to how the range of potential influences operates at an individual level. Further qualitative research is needed into individual older managers’ experiences and how they may differ according to gender

Topics: Career stages, older workers, career development, working women
Publisher: Cranfield University
Year: 2008
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Cranfield CERES

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