BOWLING GREEN STATE UNIVERSITY


BGSU graduate’s article wins national award

A journal article based on a doctoral dissertation in industrial-organizational psychology by a BGSU graduate has been honored by the Academy of Management.

Dr. Mo Wang won the academy’s Human Resources Division 2007 Scholarly Achievement Award for the article, “Profiling Retirees in the Retirement Transition and Adjustment Process: Examining the Longitudinal Change Patterns of Retirees’ Psychological Well-Being.” The article appeared in the Journal of Applied Psychology last year.

The award goes to the author of the most significant article in human resource management published in recognized journals and research annuals. Criteria include significance and importance of the problem to human resources; extent to which the design, findings or orientation advances research or theory, and the likelihood that the paper will be widely cited in future published work.

Wang, now an assistant professor of industrial-organizational psychology at Portland (Ore.) State University, studied retirees for his doctorate in industrial-organizational and developmental psychology at BGSU. He received his Ph.D. in 2005, two years after earning his master’s degree from Bowling Green.

His dissertation research found that declining health had a more significant impact on retirees’ psychological well-being than financial declines, and that “bridge employment” helped them maintain that well-being. Given the latter finding and projected growing labor shortages stemming from baby boomers’ retirement, he pointed out the potential benefit to governmental and corporate policy-makers of reducing barriers to and encouraging work at older ages.

“For example,” Wang wrote, “government may facilitate partnership-building among public universities, organizations, and older-worker advocacy groups to provide skill enhancement training for older workers. Employers may also provide multiple work patterns and options to help older workers to less abruptly transition into retirement.” Among those options could be phased retirement, job sharing, job transfers, job redesign, sabbaticals and flexible work arrangements, he added.

The findings also suggested that policy-makers see the importance of helping and encouraging retirees to get better health insurance plans, and that a prevention-oriented health care system may be more effective than a curing-oriented system, he said.   

In addition, Wang maintained that the study provided “a feasible way to predict the psychological well-being change patterns during the retirement transition and adjustment process.” Along with health and bridge employment, he used variables such as engagement in retirement planning, marital satisfaction, and physical demands, stress and satisfaction related to the job from which they retired to profile retirees.

Applying those “predictors” could help prospective retirees “build realistic expectations about the obstacles and barriers they may face in their retirement transition and adjustment,” which in turn could help them develop better coping strategies, he noted.

Psychologists could use the profiles as well “to identify retirees likely to experience negative changes in psychological well-being,” and intervention programs could be designed and tailored to improve retirement quality, Wang wrote.

Wang’s faculty advisers at BGSU were Drs. Michael Zickar and Yiwei Chen, psychology.


April 7, 2008