Zeitschrift für ArbeitsmarktForschung

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 295–306 | Cite as

A systemic approach to aging in the work context

Research Paper


In this article we present the interdisciplinary, developmental and systemic approach to the study of work and aging that guides research at the Jacobs Center on Lifelong Learning and Institutional Development (JCLL). We introduce basic principles of adult development including its plasticity, multi-directionality, and embeddedness in contexts. We describe the different dynamic internal (e.g., psychological, physiological) and external contexts (e.g., organizations, labor market institutions) relevant to the work context that influence adult development. We present how the various disciplinary perspectives at the JCLL contribute to a fuller understanding of various contextual systems and their interactions with regard to the work context. Finally, we describe how a systemic approach to research on work and aging can contribute to the creation of work contexts conducive to productive development across the adult lifespan as summarized in the notion of dynamic human resource management. Importantly, we consider a wider notion of ‘productivity’ that encompasses not only economic aspects but also intellectual, motivational and emotional outputs.


Work Aging Contextualism Systemic approach 

Ein systemischer Ansatz zum Altern im Arbeitskontext


Der vorliegende Artikel stellt einen interdisziplinären, entwicklungsorientierten und systemischem Ansatz vor, der der Forschung zu Altern und Arbeiten bei der Jacobs Center on Lifelong Learning and Institutional Development (JCLL) zu Grunde liegt. Wir gehen hierbei auf die wichtigsten Grundsätze der Entwicklung Erwachsener ein: Plastizität, Multidirektionalität (Entwicklung bringt Gewinne und Verluste mit sich) sowie Kontextabhängigheit. Darüber hinaus beschreiben wir verschiedene dynamische interne (psychische, physiologische) und externe (z.B., Firmen, Strukturen des Arbeitsmarkts) Kontexte, die die Entwicklung Erwachsener beeinflussen und für den Arbeitskontext eine Bedeutung haben. Wir erklären wie die unterschiedlichen disziplinären Perspektiven am JCLL einen Beitrag dazu leisten, diese verschieden Kontexte der Entwicklung und deren Zusammenspiel zu verstehen und dadurch die Wechselwirkung zwischen Altern und dem Arbeitskontext zu erhellen. Schließlich legen wir dar wie ein systemischer Forschungsansatz zum Altern im Arbeitskontext einen Beitrag dazu leisten kann, Arbeitskontexte so zu gestalten, dass produktive Entwicklung über die gesamte Lebenspanne gefördert wird (im Sinne einer ‚dynamischen Personalentwicklung‘). Hierbei berücksichtigen wir eine weite Definition von ‚Produktivität‘, die nicht nur ökonomische Leistung sondern daneben auch intellektuelle, motivationale und emotionale Leistung umfasst.


Arbeiten Altern Kontextualismus Systemischer Forschungsansatz 


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Copyright information

© Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jacobs Center on Lifelong Learning and Institutional DevelopmentJacobs University BremenBremenGermany

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