Cover: Does work make the man: masculine identity and work identity during the transition to retirement

Does work make the man: masculine identity and work identity during the transition to retirement

Published 1990

by T. J. Gradman

Purchase Print Copy

 Format Price
Add to Cart Paperback95 pages $30.00

This study examines differences in masculine identity and work identity in a cross-section of men at various stages of the transition to retirement. Masculine identity and work identity refer to how closely one identifies with male sex-role expectations and with one's job, career, and company. The subjects of the study are 50 retirees and 26 workers from one large company that promotes voluntary retirement. These subjects have successfully met societal expectations for men--all are mid-level managers who are socially, maritally, and financially stable. Workers fall into three groups with respect to retirement: those having set no retirement date, those intending to retire in one to three years, and those intending to retire within a year. Retirees fall into two groups: those who have retired within the last year and those who have been retired from two to six years. The study's comparison of the masculine and work identity of men at different stages in the retirement process resulted in several counterintuitive findings: (1) retired men identify more closely with work than workers, maintaining loyalty to their company and pride in their careers; (2) workers who intend to retire in one to three years report more stress in trying to meet male sex-role expectations than other subjects; and (3) the retirees who report greater well-being are those who identify more closely with work.

This report is part of the RAND paper series. The paper was a product of RAND from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

This document and trademark(s) contained herein are protected by law. This representation of RAND intellectual property is provided for noncommercial use only. Unauthorized posting of this publication online is prohibited; linking directly to this product page is encouraged. Permission is required from RAND to reproduce, or reuse in another form, any of its research documents for commercial purposes. For information on reprint and reuse permissions, please visit

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.