|Australia's population and workforce are ageing. The reason for an ageing population is the post World War II baby boom, followed by low birth rates in subsequent generations. Combined with healthier lifestyles, advances in medical science and the subsequent increase in longevity, this means that there are more older people than ever before and this trend will continue for several more decades. However, workforce demographics are also affected by ageing, and Australian organisations will need to employ more older workers in the near future to meet predicted shortfalls of skilled workers. Although there have been studies examining the current low employment rates of older workers, the identification of negative stereotypes associated with older workers, and related problems and challenges (such as age discrimination), no study of the working intentions of older Australian workers has been reported. Therefore, the aim of this research is to explore the meaning of working for older workers to better understand whether and why older Australian workers might want to continue working. In particular, this thesis explores what it is about working that makes some people want to continue beyond the traditional age of retirement, while others wish to cease work as soon as they are able. There are clear implications for individuals, organisations and public policy emanating from the extension to working lives. The research aims and objectives were best met within a phenomenological approach, and the data collection consisted of four studies. The setting for the research was a single organisation; an Australian university. Three of these studies were qualitatively-driven, within an interpretivist paradigm: (i) in-depth interviews with older employees (aged 50 years or older) to determine their meanings of working; (ii) interviews with managers to determine whether there were any organisational factors encouraging older workers to retire early; and (iii) interviews with retirees to determine their meanings of working and retirement. The fourth study was quantitative and examined the demographics of the organisation and the relevant HRM policy documents. The thesis uses the meaning of working as the initial theoretical conceptual perspective, and derives a new conceptual perspective for managing older workers, which is outlined in the last chapters. The research draws from two perspectives - the organisation and the individual. The organisational perspective examines the management of organisational staffing in the context of future demographic changes. The individual perspective is explored via the meaning of working to older workers. The key findings from the research in the chosen university suggest that despite the Commonwealth Government's attempts to encourage older workers to continue working, the majority of the older workers, irrespective of employment category, did not want to continue working beyond the traditional retirement age of 65 years. Reasons included wanting to spend more time with a life partner, becoming more involved with interests outside of work, and removing themselves from the negative circumstances in the organisation. However, of those who wanted to continue working, the majority was from the academic employment category (both employees and retirees), and the minority was from the administrative or general employment category. Additionally, the academic participants rated working in their lives as important or very important; higher than the ratings provided by the general staff participants. Explanations are offered as to reasons for such differences between the employment categories. The consequences of these findings include the need for a new approach to managing older workers, and particularly at the end of their working lives and into retirement. Australian organisations cannot afford to continue losing staff to early retirement, yet this trend appears to continue. Suggestions to meet this challenge are made at three levels: public policy, the organisation and the individual. Implications for future research are presented in the final chapter.