Date of Award

1-29-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Sociology

First Advisor

J. Beth Mabry, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

John A. Anderson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

David M. Piper, D.Ed.

Abstract

The impending retirement of the Baby Boomer generational cohort may have serious implications for many employers (Gursoy, Maier, & Chi, 2008; Smola & Sutton, 2002), especially in light of the impact on retirement decision-making in conjunction with the global economic crisis that began in 2007. The resultant potential changes in the U.S. labor force suggest it is important to have an improved understanding of what influences retirement timing. This study examines possible relationships between factors that are modifiable by an organization and employees' intended retirement time. It was designed to investigate how positive job characteristics, as specified by the Job Characteristics Model (Hackman & Oldham, 1976, 1980) and measured by the Job diagnostic Survey (Hackman & Oldham, 1975) may influence the intended timing of retirement. Using a cross-sectional methodology, I invited 9,528 employees of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) to complete an online survey designed to collect data regarding the employees' perceived job characteristics, key demographic characteristics associated with retirement timing, projected physical health, financial health, adjustment to retirement, and the employees' intended retirement timing. A factor analysis of the job characteristics data identified two factors, meaningful engagement and job control. I used an ordinal logistic regression model to explore the possible influence of those factors on employees' intentions to retire at age ranges before, at, or after the normal retirement age range, as defined by the Social Security Administration (2006) as ages 66 to 67 for all persons born in 1943 or later. The analysis of the data suggests that increased levels of both the meaningful engagement and job control factors relate to an increase in the probability that an employee will intend to retire after normal retirement age and a decrease in the probability that an employee will intend to retire before normal retirement age. I conclude with a discussion of the implications of these findings for both policy and organizational practices.

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