This article links organizational forces to individual decision making on retirement. We examine to what extent work characteristics and organizational context (organizational policies and workplace norms toward retirement) affect the (planned) retirement age of workers aged 50 and over. We use data from the NIDI Work and Retirement Panel. This is a longitudinal study among older workers of three private sector organizations and among civil servants in the Netherlands. We use information for those employees that participated in 2001 as well in 2007 (N = 1,611). The results indicate that job characteristics are associated with retirement decision making: older individuals with attractive jobs (in terms of challenge and growth) have a higher (planned) retirement age, the opposite holds for older workers with demanding jobs. Social forces in the work place are relevant as well. The results indicate that older workers in organizations with an ‘early exit culture’, where almost all co-workers take early retirement, show a low propensity to continue working. Perceived supervisor support for extending working life has the opposite effect. Workers that feel that their supervisor has a positive attitude towards working longer, have a higher (planned) retirement age.
Keywords: retirement intention, retirment timing, work context, organizational context, normative context, supervisor support.