Differential predictors of post-retirement life and work satisfaction

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship of personal motivational goals and the corresponding occupational characteristics of volunteer, work-related activities in retirement with life and work satisfaction. Design/methodology/approach – Fully retired individuals working for a non-profit organization in their former professional career field on a non-paid basis were surveyed using an online survey (n¼661) to assess their motivational goals, the occupational characteristics of their projects, and satisfaction with life and work. Findings – Results suggested that post-retirement volunteer workers differentiated between perceived life and work satisfaction. The motives of achievement, appreciation, autonomy, contact, and generativity significantly directly affected life satisfaction and indirectly affected work satisfaction. Occupational characteristics assessing achievement, appreciation, autonomy, contact, and generativity had direct effects on work satisfaction but not on life satisfaction except for occupational autonomy. Research limitations/implications – The study was cross-sectional and based on self-report data of highly educated German retirees working in volunteer professional positions, thus potentially limiting the generalizability of findings. Practical implications – Organizations should enable post-retirement volunteer workers to meet their motivation goals by designing work opportunities to fulfill the motivational goals of achievement, appreciation, autonomy, contact, and generativity. Social implications – Post-retirement activities possess the potential to help solve societal problems by countering the shortage of specialists and managers at the same time that the burden on social security systems is reduced. Originality/value – The paper presents evidence that different personal motivational goals and occupational characteristics are important in post-retirement activities. The findings imply that work designs created for post-retirement activities should provide a variety of occupational characteristics, such as occupational achievement and appreciation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Managerial Psychology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)216-231
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 09.03.2015