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Title: Older workers' encounter with de-standardised labour market exit : opportunities for biographical management
Author: Skinner, Michael John
ISNI:       0000 0001 3416 7341
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2003
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This study examines how the uncertain nature of older workers' employment has raised the profile of 'identity' as an issue of concern for those currently approaching labour market exit, and how they actively manage this concern within their overall biographical framework. The design involves a grounded-theory analysis of 60 qualitative interviews with men and women aged between 54 and 67, within two years of 'retirement'. Following the life-course tradition, it locates their accounts in historical structures of changing patterns of labour market participation, where 'retirement' timings are less age-structured, more open to personal decision making, and more likely to be influenced by the interaction between work and domestic life-course trajectories. The Heideggerian theoretical concepts of 'temporality' and 'authenticity' are applied to the data to provide insights into how older workers confront dilemmas between their earlier understandings of how and when work was expected to end, and their current experience of de-standardised labour market exit. The research explores how far older workers assert control over their biographical management by ascribing personal meanings to the historically specific choices, tensions, and ambiguities which they encounter through increasingly uncertain employment conditions. The 'existential anxiety' generated by this uncertainty is seen as creating the potential for a different form of self-understanding to emerge. This has implications for how older workers understand themselves at work, and how they come to leave the labour market. A number of personal strategies are identified to explain how older workers rationalise dilemmas of labour market exit within a biographical context to illuminate self-understanding. These strategies require varying degrees of biographical effort to maintain a unique, coherent self, and are found to have a gendered dimension. The results have practical implications for those who support older workers through the exit process, as well as those involved in their recruitment and retention.
Supervisor: Yeandle, Sue ; Rosie, Anthony Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Retirement