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Appears in Collections:Management, Work and Organisation Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Older workers and occupational identity in the telecommunications industry: Navigating employment transitions through the life course
Author(s): Mackenzie, Robert
Marks, Abigail
Keywords: bridge employment
life course
occupational community
occupational identity
older workers
organizational identity
Issue Date: 1-Feb-2019
Citation: Mackenzie R & Marks A (2019) Older workers and occupational identity in the telecommunications industry: Navigating employment transitions through the life course. Work, Employment and Society, 33 (1), pp. 39-55.
Abstract: The article examines the relationship between restructuring and work-based identity among older workers, exploring occupational identity, occupational community and their roles in navigating transitions in the life course. Based on working-life biographical interviews with late career and retired telecoms engineers, the article explores the role of occupational identity in dealing with change prior to and following the end of careers at BT, the UK’s national telecommunications provider. Restructuring and perpetual organizational change undermined key aspects of the engineering occupational identity, inspiring many to seek alternative employment outside BT. For older workers, some seeking bridge employment in the transition to retirement, the occupational community not only served as a mechanism for finding work but also provided a sustained collective identity resource. Distinctively, the research points to a dialectical relationship between occupational identity and the navigation of change as opposed to the former simply facilitating the latter
DOI Link: 10.1177/0950017018760212
Rights: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (

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