The present study investigates what role I-deals (i.e. the idiosyncratic deals made between employees and their organization) play in the motivation of employees to continue working after retirement. We hypothesized two types of I-deals (i.e. development and flexibility I-deals) to be positively related to motivation to continue working. More specifically, we drew from continuity and personality theory to argue that the motivation to continue working is enhanced by I-deals, because they fulfil people's needs for personalized work arrangements. Moreover, drawing from activity and disengagement theory it was hypothesized that two types of unit climate (i.e. accommodative and development climates) would moderate these relationships. Specifically, it was predicted that I-deals would be positively related to motivation to continue working under conditions of low accommodative or high development climate. Results of a multi-level study among 1083 employees in 24 units largely supported the above expectations; flexibility I-deals related positively to motivation to continue working, and unit climate moderated the relation between development I-deals and motivation to continue working. © 2011 The Authors. Journal of Management Studies © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd and Society for the Advancement of Management Studies.