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Work Satisfaction and Age: Some Evidence for the `Job Change' Hypothesis

James D. Wright and Richard F. Hamilton
Social Forces
Vol. 56, No. 4 (Jun., 1978), pp. 1140-1158
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/2577515
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2577515
Page Count: 19
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Work Satisfaction and Age: Some Evidence for the `Job Change' Hypothesis
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Abstract

Previous research on work satisfaction has consistently shown that older people are more satisfied with their jobs than younger people. The present paper addresses three possible explanations for this tendency: (1) the "now generation" of workers subscribes to a set of post-material values that contradict the demands of the industrial system and cause greater work discontent; (2) the standards of the old are systematically eroded by their years in the system, such that they learn to be satisfied with less; and (3) older workers simply have better jobs. A decisive choice among these hypotheses cannot be made without longitudinal data; nonetheless, the bulk of the evidence presented here (for economically active, salaried white males, drawn from the University of Michigan's 1972-73 Quality of Employment survey) clearly favors the last hypothesis.

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