DOI: 10.1093/workar/waad021 ISSN: 2054-4650

Engaging Mature-Age Workers Through Mature-Age Practices: Examining the Roles of Focus on Opportunities and Work Centrality

Lian Zhou, Yujie Zhan, Jiamin Peng, Jian Chen
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Industrial relations


Given the global trend of labor force aging and the ongoing challenge of engaging mature-age workers, researchers have begun to explore human resource practices that are tailored to the needs of mature-age workers. However, knowledge about how such practices influence older individuals’ motivation at work is limited. Drawing upon signaling theory, we developed and examined a model that specifies why and when mature-age practices are helpful in engaging mature-age workers. Using time-lagged data from 135 Chinese workers aged 40 years or above, we found that mature-age practices are associated with mature-age workers’ focus on opportunities. Moreover, mature-age practices had a positive indirect effect on mature-age workers’ work engagement through their focus on opportunities. This positive indirect effect of mature-age practices on work engagement via focusing on opportunities was stronger for mature-age workers with lower rather than higher work centrality. The findings are discussed in terms of their theoretical implications for the aging workforce management literature and practical implications are provided for managers seeking to engage mature-age workers.

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