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How the impact of HR practices on employee well-being and performance changes with age


Dr Dorien T.A.M. Kooij, Department of Human Resource Studies, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Tilburg University, Warandelaan 2, 5037 AB, Tilburg, The Netherlands. Email:


With changing retirement ages and an aging workforce, interest is growing on the potential contribution of relevant bundles of HR practices in eliciting well-being and performance among aging workers. Drawing on theories on lifespan development and self-regulation, we distinguished two bundles of HR practices: development HR practices that help individual workers reach higher levels of functioning (e.g. training), and maintenance HR practices that help individual workers maintain their current levels of functioning in the face of new challenges (e.g. performance appraisal). Further, based on lifespan theories, we expected and found that the association between development HR practices and well-being (i.e. job satisfaction, organisational commitment and organisational fairness) weakens, and that the associations between maintenance HR practices and well-being, and between development HR practices and employee performance, strengthen with age. In addition, a third bundle of ‘job enrichment’ HR practices emerged that elicited higher job performance among aging workers.