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Job Involvement Through the Life Course: A Panel Study of Three Age Groups

Jon Lorence and Jeylan T. Mortimer
American Sociological Review
Vol. 50, No. 5 (Oct., 1985), pp. 618-638
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2095378
Page Count: 21
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Job Involvement Through the Life Course: A Panel Study of Three Age Groups
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Abstract

Utilizing panel data for three age groups from the 1972-73 and 1977 Quality of Employment Surveys, this study investigates the interrelations of work experiences and subjective job involvement in three age groups that are indicative of different career stages. Whereas job involvement is quite volatile in the initial stage of the work career, it becomes more stable, supporting the "aging stability hypothesis," as workers grow older. Work experiences and rewards also change less as workers age, suggesting that the growing stability with age in job involvement occurs in the context of an increasingly stable work environment. Work autonomy exerts a significant influence on job involvement in all age groups. However, the fact that this intrinsic dimension of work has the strongest influence on involvement in the youngest cohort supports the contention that there is a highly formative stage in young adulthood, after which time the person becomes more resistant to environmental pressures to change. The findings also suggest that the effects of job involvement on occupational achievement may be specific to the middle stage of the career. The results of this study indicate the potential of applying a life-span developmental perspective to the study of the sources and consequences of job involvement.

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