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Record identifier : 568824
Personal Name - Primary Intelectual Responsibility : Schwall, Alexander R.
Title and statement of responsibility : Life and employment time vectors: Effects of curtailed futures on behavior and attitudes at work [Thesis]
Publication, Distribution,Etc. : The Pennsylvania State University, 2008
Language of the Item : eng
Dissertation of thesis details and type of degree : Ph.D
Body granting the degree : , The Pennsylvania State University
Summary or Abstract : Aging research within I/O psychology routinely relies on chronological age (time since birth) to capture an individual's aging process. However, aging undeniably not only results in an expanding time since birth, but also in a decreasing time remaining in life. Every year a person lives implies that this person's past has increased by one year, but also that this person's future has shrunk by one year. Research in developmental psychology has demonstrated that individuals become aware in their 50s that a finite amount of time is available in life and that the perception that one's future is limited affects individuals' goals and values (Carstensen & Frederickson, 1998). In I/O psychology a variety of theories rely on the concept of future. Specifically, motivational theories explicitly or implicitly require a cognitive representation of the future (Locke & Latham, 1990) during which the outcomes of a person's behavior may unfold. However, it has not been systematically researched how a limitation of a person's future affects human behavior and attitudes at work.In this dissertation I proposed that there are two psychological mechanisms through which the perception of one's future (i.e., the time remaining in life) affects behavior in organizations and attitudes toward work. First, research in developmental psychology suggests that once individuals begin perceiving their remaining life time as limited, they increasingly value activities that are emotionally relevant and turn toward social contacts (e.g., spouses or children) that are meaningful and capable of generating immediate positive affect. In other words, the perceived time remaining in life may impact what kind of experiences individuals value. Second, building on expectancy value models (e.g., Vroom, 1964), individuals may be less motivated to engage in a particular activity if the valued outcome is likely to take place in the far future. If the future is perceived to be limited, activities with a pay-off in the future may not be instrumental to obtaining these outcomes, as the future may come to an end before the outcomes are realized.This dissertation tests these two propositions and demonstrates the value of perceived time left in life using the results of four studies. First, reporting results of a qualitative study (N=28), it clarified how concretely the perceived time remaining in life affects behavior and attitudes of employees (as opposed to individuals in general, as usually done in developmental psychology). For example, a reoccurring theme described by interviewed employees was a decreasing preference for "getting ahead" and an increasing preference for "getting along". Second, I have introduced a scale that is suitable to measure the perceived magnitude of the time remaining in life. Using survey data I have provided evidence that the new scale is internally consistent and unidimensional. Third, I provided evidence for the construct validity of the newly developed construct "perceived time remaining in life" and distinguish it from other competing constructs (e.g., age, tenure, time perspective, etc.).Third, I have provided evidence for the criterion validity of perceived time remaining in life and demonstrate a positive relation of perceived time remaining in life with work effort (e.g., job performance, personal initiative) and job involvement. This indicates that individuals who perceive their time remaining in life to be short are less involved in their jobs and spend generally less effort on work. A second finding of this dissertation was that especially individuals in unfavorable job conditions (low task variety and autonomy) showed a strong decrease in work effort and job involvement when time remaining in life was perceived to be limited. In contrast, individuals in favorable job conditions (high task variety and autonomy) showed no decrease of work effort and job involvement when time remaining in life was perceived to be short. This finding indicated that enriching jobs (e.g., providing job variety) may allow organizations to prevent individuals with perceived short time remaining in life from decreasing work efforts..
Topical Name Used as Subject : Gerontology
Information of biblio record : TL
 
 
 
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