Cover: Experiencing the Retirement Transition

Experiencing the Retirement Transition

Managerial and Professional Men Before and After

Published 1991

by Tora K. Bikson, Jacqueline D. Goodchilds


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This Note reports on a study of a group of men comparable in age and work background and relatively free from financial and health impediments. The study involved them in an exploration of the social and psychological factors in the transition from worker to retiree status. Half of the participants were men who had recently retired, and half were men who, although eligible to do so, had not yet chosen to leave the workplace. The authors report findings on four of the issues identified by the participants themselves: use of time, family and social adjustment, self-construct, and retirement planning processes. Social and psychological issues play a substantial role in the retirement experience. The process can be viewed as a role transition rather than a role loss, though employees, especially those who have invested the most time in the organization, anticipate that the transition will be difficult. The interim findings support the value of bringing individuals on both sides of the retirement transition into contact with each other. Electronic communications technology, made available to half the participants, may contribute to the development and maintenance of social networks that bridge this divide.

This report is part of the RAND note series. The note was a product of RAND from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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