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Dissertation Karen Pak on major life events and working longer

Published: 19th May 2020 Last updated: 19th May 2020

On October 2, our HRS colleague Karen Pak is going to defend her dissertation. Demographic developments challenge organizations to keep their employees working for a longer period of time.

The aim of Karen’s dissertation was to investigate to what extent task requirements, resources, HR activities and major life events influence the ability, willingness and permission to continue working. The most important conclusions that emerge from this research are as follows: in order to stimulate employees to work longer, organizations must ensure that their employees, regardless of their age, have sufficient resources, challenging job requirements and development opportunities at their disposal. Furthermore, the obstructing job requirements should be limited as much as possible. 
Finally, it is important for employees who experience major life events in their private lives (e.g. having a child or getting divorced) to have access to several avoidance activities, while employees who experience major life events at work (e.g. promotion or reorganisation) find it important to have access to both the developmental and utilizing activities. Regardless of the type of life events that employees experience, it is important that employees have sufficient resources at their disposal during these periods, such as the support of the supervisor and colleagues.

The defence is going to take place at the Auditorium of Tilburg University. The promotors involved are as follows: Dorien Kooij, Prof. Dr. Annet De Lage en Marc van Veldhoven. The dissertation will be published after the defence, on October 2. Yet, please contact Karen Pak ( in case you would like to read the dissertation at an earlier stage.