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Intergenerational conflict at US airlines: an unresolved Oedipal Complex?

Intergenerational conflict at US airlines: an unresolved Oedipal Complex?
Intergenerational conflict at US airlines: an unresolved Oedipal Complex?
This paper investigates how organizational-dynamics changed at US airlines after the industry wide modification to mandatory retirement age regulations revealing that senior and junior pilots reported that policy changes created antagonistic environment, pitting employees against each other in over scarce-resources.

Purpose
The purpose of this paper is to investigate how, if at all, organizational dynamics changed at US airlines after an industry wide modification to mandatory retirement age regulations in 2007. Findings challenge assumptions that society, organizations, and employees will all unequivocally benefit from abolishing mandatory retirement by investigating the impact of age-related policy changes on US airline pilots.

Design/methodology/approach
In total, 43 semi-structured interviews were conducted with captains and copilots from US airlines between September 2010 and July 2011. From this data set, two informant subgroups emerged: first, senior captains averaging 59 years of age; and second, junior pilots averaging 43.5 years of age.

Findings
Findings revealed that both senior and junior pilots reported retirement age policy changes created an antagonistic environment, pitting employees against each other in competition over scarce resources.

Research limitations/implications
Paper findings are based on empirical materials collected during an 11 month snapshot-in-time between September 2010 and July 2011 and interview data are based on a small subgroup of US airline pilots who self-selected to participate in the study. Therefore, findings are not unbiased and may not be generalizable across all airlines’ pilot workgroups.

Practical implications
Considerable research has been conducted identifying the policy and practice changes that employers need to adopt to retain older workers. However, few studies consider the psychological impact of these age-related workplace changes on employees or the organizational psychodynamics they might trigger.

Originality/value
This paper makes two main contributions. First, through use of the psychoanalytic construct of the Oedipus complex, the paper sheds light on some of the psychodynamic consequences of age-related policy changes. Second, it challenges assumptions about workforce aging and the underlying causes of intergenerational conflict, highlighting ways that policy changes intended to eradicate discrimination against older workers can result in age discrimination against younger employees.
0268-3946
75-88
Fraher, Amy L.
5c2ad136-717b-43b1-be85-c7a970f85116
Fraher, Amy L.
5c2ad136-717b-43b1-be85-c7a970f85116

Fraher, Amy L. (2017) Intergenerational conflict at US airlines: an unresolved Oedipal Complex? Journal of Managerial Psychology, 32 (1), 75-88. (doi:10.1108/JMP-06-2015-0238).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This paper investigates how organizational-dynamics changed at US airlines after the industry wide modification to mandatory retirement age regulations revealing that senior and junior pilots reported that policy changes created antagonistic environment, pitting employees against each other in over scarce-resources.

Purpose
The purpose of this paper is to investigate how, if at all, organizational dynamics changed at US airlines after an industry wide modification to mandatory retirement age regulations in 2007. Findings challenge assumptions that society, organizations, and employees will all unequivocally benefit from abolishing mandatory retirement by investigating the impact of age-related policy changes on US airline pilots.

Design/methodology/approach
In total, 43 semi-structured interviews were conducted with captains and copilots from US airlines between September 2010 and July 2011. From this data set, two informant subgroups emerged: first, senior captains averaging 59 years of age; and second, junior pilots averaging 43.5 years of age.

Findings
Findings revealed that both senior and junior pilots reported retirement age policy changes created an antagonistic environment, pitting employees against each other in competition over scarce resources.

Research limitations/implications
Paper findings are based on empirical materials collected during an 11 month snapshot-in-time between September 2010 and July 2011 and interview data are based on a small subgroup of US airline pilots who self-selected to participate in the study. Therefore, findings are not unbiased and may not be generalizable across all airlines’ pilot workgroups.

Practical implications
Considerable research has been conducted identifying the policy and practice changes that employers need to adopt to retain older workers. However, few studies consider the psychological impact of these age-related workplace changes on employees or the organizational psychodynamics they might trigger.

Originality/value
This paper makes two main contributions. First, through use of the psychoanalytic construct of the Oedipus complex, the paper sheds light on some of the psychodynamic consequences of age-related policy changes. Second, it challenges assumptions about workforce aging and the underlying causes of intergenerational conflict, highlighting ways that policy changes intended to eradicate discrimination against older workers can result in age discrimination against younger employees.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 14 September 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 13 February 2017
Published date: 13 February 2017

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 427798
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/427798
ISSN: 0268-3946
PURE UUID: 0e9d12c4-047c-44d7-8b25-c01542e4769d
ORCID for Amy L. Fraher: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2093-5164

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 29 Jan 2019 17:30
Last modified: 30 Jan 2020 01:50

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