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Identity incongruence and negotiation in the transition from work to retirement: A theoretical model

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Froidevaux Ariane, Hirschi Andreas, Wang Mo,
Project Retirement adjustment and employment: The role of identity and relationships in the transition period
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Organizational Psychology Review
Volume (Issue) 8(4)
Page(s) 228 - 255
Title of proceedings Organizational Psychology Review
DOI 10.1177/2041386619830754

Open Access


In an aging society, dealing with the disengagement from one’s work-related identity and the quality of retirement adjustment become major concerns for individuals and organizations. However, the processes through which retirement adjustment can be achieved and upon which conditions this depends are only partially understood, especially regarding identity transition processes. To address this issue, we suggest that identity incongruence, identity transition negotiation, and the variety of high-quality exchange relationships represent key factors that explain the different experiences in retirement adjustment quality. Integrating social identity, self- categorization, identity negotiation, and interpersonal perspectives, we develop a theoretical model with 12 propositions highlighting the dynamic changes in identity incongruence across time and the possible coexistence of the work-related identity and the retiree identity. We also discuss the potential boundary conditions of the model, outline directions for future research, and suggest practical implications at the individual and organizational levels.