Successful Aging at Work: The Role of Job Crafting

Research on how to manage and retain older workers is expanding. In this literature, older workers are often viewed as passive recipients or products of their work environment. However, findings in the lifespan literature indicate that people are not passive responders to the aging process, but rather frequently exercise agency in dealing with the biological, psychological, and social changes that occur across the lifespan. In addition, multiple studies demonstrated that employees also exercise agency at work and behave proactively. Job crafting is a specific form of proactive work behavior defined as the self-initiated changes individuals make in the task or relational boundaries of their work. Since job crafting is aimed at improving or restoring person-job fit, it offers older workers a means to continuously adjust their job to intrapersonal changes that are part of the aging process, thereby increasing their ability and motivation to continue working. In this chapter, we apply the concept of job crafting to older worker adjustment. Building upon lifespan theories and the literature on aging at work, we explain why job crafting is important for successful aging at work and we propose specific activities and forms of job crafting relevant for older workers.