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Let Go or Retain? A Comparative Study of the Attitudes of Business Students and Managers About the Retirement of Older Workers


Kène Henkens, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute, P. O. Box 11650 2502 AR The Hague, The Netherlands. E-mail:


This study's central research question is: “How do managers evaluate the desirability of early retirement of their employees, and under what circumstances and for what types of workers are they in favor of delay?” We sought to compare managers' and business students' decision making regarding older workers. We examined the extent to which student samples are appropriate to study organizational behavior. An identical factorial survey was carried out among 26 managers and 25 business school students. The results revealed that business students concentrate on performance-related individual characteristics when making selection decisions, whereas managers also recognize contextual factors (need for downsizing, tight labor market) and older workers' attitudes toward retirement.