Qualitative factors to consider at the start of outsourcing

Labor market mobility in older age

The empirical part of the present research work was carried out in a qualitative research design. This is described below with regard to the selected content (Section 5.1) as well as the methodology and methodology used (Section 5.2).

5.1 Contents of the qualitative analysis

The research objective formulated at the beginning of the research process, the interest in knowledge and the research questions, which are explained in more detail below, represent an initial orientation framework for the qualitative analysis. Then the labor market and action theory references of the research questions are presented, which were selected in parallel with the research situation and led to a modification of the research questions. Furthermore, for a more detailed substantiation of the content of the interview guideline for economically active persons, the analysis dimensions for employment-biographically oriented behavior of older economically active persons are differentiated, on which the drafting of the guideline was based. Finally, the interlinking of the various interview groups for the survey of new hires of older workers is dealt with in a multi-perspective analysis.

Research objective, interest in knowledge and research questions

The aim of the qualitative investigation was to make the analysis more successful110 Company change (from employment to employment) and reintegration (from unemployment or non-gainful employment to gainful employment), the analysis of behavior based on employment history111 and related interpretations ← 187 | 188 → as well as developed professional orientations and modes of action as well as ascertainable context conditions. This research objective, which is located on a general level, formed the basis of all survey instruments that were developed for the different research groups - for the elderly, company managers and employee representatives.

The interest in knowledge linked to the aim of the investigation consisted in

a) to find out what the quality of employment relationships were in which older jobseekers aged 50 and over were able to find a new job, and how this compared to their previous employment history;

b) to identify specific procedures when looking for a job, which were analyzed in the context of career development, individual life situation and the labor market - and thus also with regard to the financial budget context, the economic situation in the region and the chances of exploiting the qualification as well as the reasons and contexts for accepting bad working conditions, but also for rejecting them;

c) to determine the extent to which the actions and interpretations of the labor force in the upheaval phase in older age can be condensed beyond the job search strategies to divergent approaches to this upheaval phase - conceptually as biographical modes of action; in the end

d) to determine which recruitment-relevant criteria the workforce suspected or confirmed the managerial staff and what relevance was given to the existence of special conditions for this, such as an outstanding specialization or publicly funded recruitment subsidies.

The following research questions were formulated to operationalize the research objective and interest in knowledge:

1. How can the successful operational changes or reintegrations be qualitatively described?

2. What job search activities have the older workers undertaken, what search strategies have they pursued?

3. Can specific employment history modes of action in particular be determined?

4. Which context conditions and influencing factors are relevant?

5. Can gender-specific constellations be determined?

6. How do the labor force interpret their professional career?

7. What, from the point of view of the hiring company, are the decision criteria expressed as relevant for hiring an older workforce?

8. Are the assessments between the labor force surveyed, the managerial staff and the employee representatives congruent or what are the possible divergences?

9. What support did the older workforce receive when they switched or reintegrated; can conclusions be drawn to support employment trajectories in older age?

The aim of the investigation, interest in knowledge and research questions were modified in two ways during the research process: On the one hand, the research questions were conceptually sharpened in accordance with the progressive gain in knowledge. On the other hand, it was decided not to shed light on the work of the labor administration. Interviews with three employment agencies already provided valuable insights into recruitment practice, but due to the difficult access to interviews, the regionally homogeneous context could not be diversified, which is why the perspective of the employment administration in the course of the research was excluded from the aim of the study, the interest in knowledge and the research questions.

The results of the study presented here are primarily located on an analytical-exploratory and an empirical-conceptual level: In an analytical-explorative respect, the research aimed at exploring a field that had not been qualitatively researched up to now and at the identification of influencing factors and contextual conditions for action and Interpretation of economically active persons in phases of upheaval in employment history in older age. On this basis, new analysis categories were developed with which the research field was opened up and which can also be used for further research references.

From a conceptual point of view, on the basis of the empirical findings, characteristics and differentiations in the actions and interpretations of economically active persons in phases of upheaval in their career in older ages were worked out. In terms of their labor market and action theory references, these were compared to the ones described in Chap. 3 and 4 and converted into practical conclusions for educational science as well as operational and labor market-promoting practice.

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Labor market and action theory references of the research questions

Chapter 3 discussed theories about the performance and learning abilities of older workers. It was worked out that, despite scientific refutations, it can still be assumed that there is a widespread deficit perspective on older workers in companies and in the self-image of older people, which can lead to stigmatization in the form of negative stereotyping about older employees. In the empirical study, it was examined how this was represented on the level of self-assessments and self-portrayals of the labor force and how it became visible in their biographically oriented behavior (research questions 2, 3).

It was also expected that the assessments expressed by the company management staff and employee representatives would provide indications of the performance and learning ability of older employees and job seekers - taking into account the limited possibility of surveying such sensitive questions from company actors - in comparison with the self-assessments of the labor force provide attitude-relevant factors (research questions 7, 8).

Other important points of reference for the empirical analysis carried out were the integration of employment history developments and employment-oriented behavior in an overall view of the living conditions of individuals, their contextual conditions and their interactions with subjective interpretations according to the living situation-oriented approach (research questions 1–6).

In the course of employment, it is necessary to cope with career changes and breaks in all employment, activity and status changes; in the empirical analysis that was carried out, coping with the phase of professional reorientation after the age of 50 was the focus of interest. The extent to which this coping was characterized by "gatekeeping" processes, such as the operational access to vacancies, was examined more closely (research question 7). This was followed by a connection to the status passage concept.

The question of possible gender-specific characteristics was integrated into the analysis of employment history, employment-related behavior, context conditions and interpretations (explicit: research question 5, implicit: research questions 1–4, 6). The meaning of the attribute gender was explained with reference to the theoretical discourses of its contextuality, such as qualification and marital status, its intersectionality, in the sense of its interweaving with other inequality structures, ← 189 | 191 → and its social construction processes of “doing gender” and “doing old”, which also include the self-image as older employees.

In the context of the empirical study, the labor force was interviewed who had taken on a new job after the age of 50, so that they all had experiences of insecurity beyond the "normal employment relationship"112. The extent to which the employment biographical careers showed such experiences of uncertainty and the way in which uncertainty was individually perceived and interpreted outside and within “normal employment relationships” was ascertained in the empirical study based on theoretical discourses on the development of employment. A particular focus was on the question of how the respondents cope with employment history uncertainty (research questions 2, 4).

More in Chap. 3 questions already formulated that guided the present empirical study should be repeated at this point: How was the ability to shape one's own life assessed against the background of experiences of discontinuity and uncertainty? (Research question 6) In what way can links between experiences of discontinuity, risks of insecurity and employment-oriented behavior be identified, e.g. in relation to self-initiated job terminations? (Research question 4) What was the significance of gender in connection with the household or family context and the family arrangement for employment in older age, e.g. with regard to career prospects in the company, attitudes towards (“normal”) work the compatibility models chosen in the first half of employment, as well as family care work in older ages, such as caring for the parents' generation, etc.? (Research question 5)

The discussion of action theory approaches and discourses in Chap. 4 made clear an increasing differentiation of the concept of action. In the present work, a broad concept of action was fundamentally taken as a basis, which is based on a procedural nature and interweaving of decision ← 190 | 192 → and action as well as fluid boundaries between rationality and intuition, reflexivity and habit, intention and impulsivity. For the empirical investigation of employment-oriented behavior that was carried out, it was nevertheless relevant to focus on the context of meaning linked to Alfred Schütz, because understanding the context of reasons, which was reflected, interpreted and expressed by the interviewed workers in the interview situation, made the analysis of employment-oriented behavior possible in the first place ( see chapter 5.2). (Clarification of perspective for research questions 2, 3)

The positioning of action in the field of tension between the acting individual and the social structures that influence this action, thus the relationship between the individual and society, is conceptualized differently in the action-theoretical discourses. Those approaches that try to grasp the complexity of this relationship analytically without prioritizing one of the poles of subjectivism or objectivism appear particularly interesting. These include, for example, the concepts of the “duality of structure” according to Giddens, the “biographical process structure” according to Alheit and Dausien and the “society-related self-causation” according to Rosenmayr. These concepts enabled access to the object of investigation, which is based on a mutual interweaving of action and structure instead of a sequential structure of effects (clarification of perspectives for research questions 2–4).

The concept of insecurity, which in labor market theoretical discourses is analyzed based on experiences, perceptions and interpretations, can also be found in action theoretical discourses. Here, based on the theory of reflexive modernization, it is illuminated with regard to the perception of uncertainty, which according to Bonß, Esser, Hohl, Pelizäus-Hoffmeister and Zinn is located between two poles, namely one ascribed to one's own actions and thus assessed as influenceable Risk and a danger that cannot be influenced. These represent an influencing factor on - also intra-individually - differently developed patterns of action. Thus, from this theoretical perspective, as already formulated under the reference to labor market theory, the question of how the workforce's ability to shape their own lives was assessed as possible To be able to examine links to their employment-oriented behavior (research questions 4, 6).

Also following on from the theory of reflexive modernization, Hacket, Janowicz and Kühnlein examine individual patterns of interpretation and action and, as a result, differentiate between action based on accepted reasons (level of interpretation I) and unquestionably reflected ← 191 | 193 → Self-evident (interpretation level II) and acting based on self-attributed justification structures (interpretation level I) and a reflected variety of options and respective consequences (interpretation level II). For the empirical investigation of the present research work, possible dimensions of analysis of the interpretations of the surveyed labor force as well as of their employment-biographically oriented behavior offered themselves (research questions 2, 3, 6).

With regard to both studies based on the theory of reflexive modernization, which were again emphasized here for the further research process, it is true that the perspectives on interpretations and actions developed here and their dimensions were included in the evaluation of the empirical study. An orientation towards the developed typologies or even the theory of reflexive modernization, on the other hand, was expressly not undertaken in the research approach pursued here (see the explanations under Section 4.1.2).

Biographical theoretical approaches focus on the experiences, orientations, interests and goals of individuals in biographical analyzes. Fritz Schütze differentiated different attitudes of experience from life-historical experiences and the associated future expectations and assumed possibilities for intervention. These were included in the empirical study (research questions 2, 3, 6). In addition, the differentiation according to Schütze clearly shows links to the studies by Bonß et al. as well as by Hacket et al. referred to in the previous paragraphs, in that they shed light on the assessment of individuals with regard to the ability to shape their own lives from different perspectives.

Approaches in the sociology of aging relate to a large extent to the post-employment phase, but were of interest for the empirical study carried out here insofar as they reflect age-related stigmatizations - as in labor market theoretical approaches - as well as dimensions such as life satisfaction, confidence, power, resources and interpretation for action focus on individuals who could also be used for an analysis of the behavior of older workers based on employment history. The analysis of age-specific competencies, risks and the importance of self-determination, which Rosenmayr particularly emphasized, formed further important analysis dimensions with regard to older workers, whose “age-specific characteristics”, however, had to be classified in the respective biographical contexts in order to understand their characteristics without assuming their generalization. (Research questions 1-6)

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Selected typologies from Baumeister et al. as well as von Zinn and von Hendrich, which, however, due to different target groups, could not be fully transferred to the empirical study carried out in the present research work. However, they offered fruitful indications of the dimensions of analysis, which placed attitudes towards gainful employment and employment-oriented action in the context of individual orientations, interpretations, competencies, resources, personal characteristics, structural, normative and personal framework conditions.These dimensions were taken into account in the further research process, whereby it could not be assumed that their interdependency could be ascertained in all their complexity. Rather, contexts and references were checked as far as possible. The relevance of professional biographical connectivity, emphasized by Hendrich, should also be emphasized here. (Research questions 1-6)

Analysis dimensions for employment-biographically oriented behavior of older workers

In order to prepare the interview guide for the labor force, the analysis dimensions that were to be assumed to be relevant for working life-oriented behavior, especially in the transition phase in older age, were differentiated in terms of content. The development of the analysis dimensions was based on the most comprehensive possible identification of presumed characteristics of behavior based on employment history.

The assumption here is that relevant influencing factors on individual job search strategies in the context of (employment) biographical competency profiles, orientations, balances, individual and social resources, the professional supply and demand relationship, economic, regional, normative and personal context conditions as well as the Relate the hiring strategy of the hiring company. Taking into account as far as possible the factors that cannot or can hardly be influenced individually - i.e. the contextual conditions - the focus was on the question of how the interviewed older workers had proceeded in order to successfully realize a new hiring. For the analysis, a distinction was made according to three dimensions: the reasons for action, the actions and the demands on working conditions.

Analysis dimension A .: Reasons for action in specific action contexts

The reasons for action clarify the “why” of the employment-biographical-oriented action, whereby an attempt was made here to interlink them with the structural, operational, normative and personal context conditions, the ← 193 | 195 → to integrate function-related attitudes towards gainful employment as well as occupational orientations and interpretations as far as possible (research question 4). Which includes:

a) A job search as a result of a company-initiated dismissal: This can be due to operational, personal, behavioral or extraordinary reasons.113

b) A job search as a result of job-related change requests: These requests can point in different directions, e.g. to optimize income or career in terms of status, organizational options or work content. Further motivations can be based on an interest in changing the work content (without improving status), on a desire for new professional experience or on dissatisfaction in the company with regard to the working atmosphere, working conditions, etc.

c) A job search for professional security: Such security can be sought as a precautionary measure, for example to maintain the quality of the working conditions, e.g. because the current job and the associated income cannot be achieved until retirement. It can also refer to preventive protection of gainful employment, e.g. due to suspected job insecurity. Finally, announced impending layoffs can also lead to a job search.

d) A job search as a result of personal change requests: Reasons for such requests can be based on a (family-related) change of location, child care, taking on care tasks e.g. towards the parents or on other personal reasons.

e) Looking for a job as a result of other reasons for a change or reintegration: Other reasons for looking for a job may include returning to work after a career break due to rehabilitation.

Analysis dimension B .: Employment-oriented action

Under this dimension, the “what” and the “how” of employment-biographical-oriented action are discussed. As described in Chap. 4.3, used in the present work for an action that goes beyond ← 194 | 196 → Going beyond a specific action situation, it also refers to more fundamental course-setting of the employment biography. Here, skills development and action flow over the entire career history, together with the activities and procedures aimed at changing companies or professional reintegration from the age of 50, as well as the individual, especially education-related resources (research question 2). The following are to be mentioned:

a) Development and further development of competence: Here, a special look was first of all directed at the technical qualifications that can be differentiated according to generalization vs. specialization, according to the relationship between supply and demand in the respective qualification segment and according to the qualification / competence level. Second, the combination of technical, methodological, social and personal competence should also be emphasized as relevant. It should be noted here that the survey was carried out through a self-assessment of the labor force and thus sought to capture their interpretation and reflection (see Section 5.2). Finally, thirdly, the further training activities undertaken in the course of the employment biography are important for the development of competencies, which were recorded according to frequency, form, occasion, goals and self / external initiation Baumeister, Bollinger, Geissler & Osterland (cf. dies. 1991, pp. 152–157). This also includes individual social and educational resources. The following are to be mentioned:

- Reality-related planning skills: This "includes two skills in particular: being able to include objective conditions in professional strategies while calculating and planning in time perspectives" (Baumeister et al. 1991, p. 152); operationalized for the present study by the following characteristics: analyzing vs. spontaneous, reality vs. wish-related, determined vs. waiting, intensely acting vs. not intensely acting as well as future vs. present-related.

- Flexibility and willingness to change: This means the ability "to be able to design a strategy appropriate to the given conditions while maintaining orientation and wishes, (...) the (...) degree of flexibility corresponds to attitudes towards change and the new" (Baumeister et al. 1991 , P. 155); for the present study operationalized by ← 195 | 197 → following characteristics: openness vs. lack of openness for - voluntarily and also not voluntarily selectable - professional changes as well as using unusual paths vs. primarily using tried and tested paths.114

- Self-awareness and qualification awareness: This is shown, among other things, in profiling through one's own performance and in assessing the professional situation as influenceable115 as well as in the ability to deal with conflict in order to assert one's own interests (cf. Baumeister et al. 1991, p. 156 f.); operationalized for the present study by the following characteristics: high vs. low professional-personal self-confidence, making one's own performance visible vs. not wanting to attract attention, and willingness to conflict vs. avoiding conflict Result of the study by Baumeister, Bollinger, Geissler and Osterland on skilled workers as relevant for an offensive labor market action oriented towards one's own interests (cf. dies. 1991, p. 157).

b) The selected activities and procedures for the job search: The selected procedure for the job search is to be examined in particular according to the following aspects: the type of job sought according to activity and working conditions (see also section C. below), the job search activities undertaken according to concentration vs. Scatter, scope and quality, e.g. mail inquiries vs. high-priced folders, as well as the type of application, e.g. speculative and / or tender-related. In addition, the communication strategy must also be taken into account, which is expressed in the type of contact, e.g. electronically, in writing, by telephone and / or in person, as well as in the personal appearance, e.g. self-confidence, self-portrayal, etc. Attempts were made to collect these aspects in their breadth for the development of the interview guidelines and for the implementation of the interview; in the subsequent evaluation process, the approach was then more focused (see Chapter 6.4) 198 →