The effects of age on job crafting: Exploring the motivations and behavior of younger and older employees in job crafting

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Abstract

Purpose: This paper contributes to the job-crafting theory of Wrzesniewski and Dutton (The Academy of Management Review 26(2):179–201, 2001) by exploring the effects of age on job-crafting behaviors (i.e., task crafting, relational crafting, and cognitive crafting) and on job-crafting motivations (i.e., the need for personal control, the desire to create and sustain a positive self-image, and the need for human connection).

Design/methodology/approach: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 16 younger and 15 older employees (n = 31) at a socially responsible non-profit organization in the Netherlands. The qualitative data were analyzed in two major steps: (1) identifying job-crafting motivations and behaviors in older and younger employees and (2) identifying and comparing the differences in the job-crafting motivations and behaviors between older employees and younger employees.

Findings: We found that both older and younger employees are likely to engage in job-crafting behavior to assert control over their jobs and to create a positive self-image. However, younger employees may have two different motivations (personal control and positive self-image) for engaging in such job-crafting behavior. Whereas both younger and older employees engage the most in task crafting, younger employees are more likely to engage in all three types of job-crafting behavior; additionally, we found that the three different forms of job-crafting behavior of younger employees occur in conjunction with one another.

Research limitations/implications: This study contributes to the original job-crafting model of Wrzesniewski and Dutton (The Academy of Management Review 26(2):179–201, 2001) by including the effect of age in the model, and by demonstrating the importance of studying the three original main job-crafting motivations and behaviors separately from one another.

Practical implications: This paper addresses the multigenerational challenges of the contemporary workforce. It demonstrates that managers may play a pivotal role in stimulating older employees to engage in job-crafting behaviors by informing them about job-crafting strategies and providing them with more opportunities to engage in job crafting.

Originality/value: This paper is original in that it re-examines, refines, and enriches the job-crafting model of Wrzesniewski and Dutton (The Academy of Management Review 26(2):179–201, 2001), which is receiving a growing interest among researchers and business practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLeadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship as Driving Forces of the Global Economy
EditorsRachid Benlamri, Michael Sparer
PublisherSpringer
Chapter42
Pages485-505
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9783319434346
ISBN (Print)9783319434339
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event 2016 International Conference on Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ICLIE) -
Duration: 20 Apr 201622 Apr 2016

Conference

Conference 2016 International Conference on Leadership, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ICLIE)
Period20/04/1622/04/16

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