Integrating the German and US Perspective on Organizational Practices for Later Life Work: The Later Life Work Index

  • Max R. Wilckens
  • Anne M. Wöhrmann
  • Caitlin Adams
  • Jürgen DellerEmail author
  • Ruth Finkelstein


Later life work is on the rise in most developed countries, and organizational practices are important for its successful implementation. However, an integrated holistic perspective on successful management practices is still missing. Drawing on two qualitative frameworks of organizational practices for later life work, this chapter examines similarities and differences between management of older employees in the USA and Germany. Based on evidence from the Age Smart Employer Award in New York City and the Silver Work Index (SWI) in Germany, an integrated, intercultural framework for organizational later life work practices is proposed. The comparison reflects the differences in the countries’ social systems and legislation. While Germany’s rigid social security system requires emphasis on more individualized and flexible transition solutions into retirement, U.S. practices emphasize the importance of retirement savings and health coverage. Findings suggest a revised integrated set of practices regarding organizational culture, leadership, and several specific human resource (HR) management domains including work design, health management, individual development, and transition to retirement. This integration thereby contributes to the development of a well-founded index for good organizational management of later life work. The revised index is called Later Life Work Index (LLWI) and aims to enable organizations to self-assess their capabilities regarding successful employment of older employees, to identify areas for improvement, and to serve as a source for best practices.


Later life work Bridge employment Index Older employees Retirement Active aging Work design Working conditions Successful aging Aging at work 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Max R. Wilckens
    • 1
  • Anne M. Wöhrmann
    • 1
    • 2
  • Caitlin Adams
    • 3
    • 4
  • Jürgen Deller
    • 1
    • 5
    Email author
  • Ruth Finkelstein
    • 6
  1. 1.Institute of Management and OrganizationLeuphana University of LüneburgLüneburgGermany
  2. 2.Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA)DortmundGermany
  3. 3.South Bronx UnitedBronxUSA
  4. 4.Mailman School of Public HealthColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Silver Workers Research InstituteBerlinGermany
  6. 6.Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging, Hunter CollegeCity University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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