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Career progression in older managers : motivational and gender differences

By Dianne Bown-Wilson


This study explores what UK managers aged 50 and over perceive as career progression at a time in life when opportunities for further promotion may have ceased. It examines motivational drivers and subjectively significant personal and organizational influences on career progression. It also investigates whether motivation for career progression is perceived to have changed over the career and the extent to which it may differ between male and female older managers. The research adopted a qualitative, inductive approach using a phenomenological methodology. Fieldwork comprised semi-structured interviews with 27 male and 13 female managers aged 50 and over from two large, UK financial services organizations. The findings show how motivation for career progression in managers aged over 50 is driven by individually diverse patterns of career drivers, personal and work-related influences, and attitudes towards career opportunities. These can be classified into a number of career progression orientations. The study contributes to knowledge in the area of subjective psychological career mobility in late career and the balance which individuals maintain between the organizational and personal aspects of their career. It demonstrates that motivational drivers of career progression are perceived to change over the career and that career progression is linked, on an individual basis, to past, current and future career mobility which may extend past the traditional retirement transition. It also reveals that, in general, older female managers may exhibit a greater drive for self-realisation through later life career renewal than their male counterparts

Topics: career motivation, career development, career mobility, older workers, women's careers
Publisher: Cranfield University
Year: 2011
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Cranfield CERES

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