Purpose: Few studies aim to uniquely conceptualize the experiences of bridge employees after they enter the workforce. Supported by the psychological contract theory and the self-determination theory, the purpose of this paper is to contribute to the understanding of the bridge employment experience by examining how the expectations of bridge employees shape their experiences. Design/methodology/approach: This paper first reviews the extant literature on bridge employment. It then discusses the psychological contract theory and the self-determination theory, and examines the expectations of bridge employees through the theoretical perspectives of these two theories, to examine experiences in bridge employment. Findings: Discord in the bridge employment relationship may be attributed to a lack of understanding of the implicit expectations of bridge employees. More specifically, unmet expectations may be detrimental to the bridge employment experience, and ultimately jeopardize both employer and employee outcomes. Research limitations/implications: This paper examines expectations and experiences of bridge employees from a theoretical perspective. Theoretical tenets are utilized to analyze how and why implicit expectations may influence bridge employees in ways that result in detrimental outcomes for both employers and employees. Practical implications: This paper sheds light on why bridge employment arrangements may result in adverse outcomes. Specifically, when there is a lack of understanding between bridge employees’ expectations and experiences, both individual and organizational outcomes may be impaired. An improved understanding of the bridge employment experience will likely result in an enhanced working relationship between bridge employees and employers, and minimize misunderstandings about this cohort of the workforce. Originality/value: Using the guidelines of the psychological contract theory and the self-determination theory, we develop a model to examine how expectation of bridge employees may affect the experiences and ultimately, the outcomes of bridge employment. The authors also identify factors uniquely applicable to bridge employees. This is the first paper that examines the experiences of bridge employees through such theoretical perspectives.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Bridge employment, Critical, Older workers, Psychological contract theory, Retirement, Self-determination theory, Unmet expectations
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1108/PR-10-2016-0276
Journal Personnel Review
Citation
Mazumdar, B. (Bishakha), Warren, A.M. (Amy M.), & Dupre, K. (2018). Extending the understanding of bridge employment: a critical analysis. Personnel Review. doi:10.1108/PR-10-2016-0276