Organizational Socialization

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    • 00:07

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS: Hi, my nameis Dr. Helena Cooper Thomas.I'm an academic at the University of Aucklandin the School of Psychology.And I'm going to talk today to provide youan overview of organizational socialization.So, organizational socialization is alsoknown as newcomer adjustment, or also in the practitionerliterature, it's called onboarding

    • 00:29

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: And it's the process that follows on from recruitmentand selection, and typically refers to employeeswho are new to an organization.Although, it can also be used to referto employees who are changing roles in an organization,such as a lateral transfer or a vertical promotion.So, it describes the process by which

    • 00:50

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: new employees or employees who have transferredbecome integrated and effective in their new role.During organizational socialization,the new employee learns about the local norms, the values,the attitudes that are current in the organization or the partof the organization they're joining,and enable them to work more effectively.

    • 01:11

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: So, in this short video, I'm goingto talk about process approaches.And then I'm going to talk about content approaches,both of which enable us to understandwhat's actually happening during organizational socialization.And then I'll briefly touch on some individual differencesin personality and behavior.So, first of all, looking at process approaches,a seminal article was written in 1979 by John Van Maanen

    • 01:34

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: and Edgar Schein.And that was about how the organization structuresthe process of socialization to enable new employees to adjust.And so their argument was that the process of socializationand what organizations do is justas important as the content of what new employees actuallylearn.

    • 01:54

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: So they called these processes of the organizationthe tactics.So, we talk about organizational socialization tactics.And they outlined six tactics that organizationsuse to influence newcomers to encourage them to adoptvarious role orientations.So, the six tactics are reached bipolar.

    • 02:16

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: Collective versus individual is the first tactic.So whether or not new employees go through a formal processin which they're all together, or whether it's one by one.The second tactic is formal versus informal.So, whether that induction experienceis off site and done away from the normal workplace,

    • 02:37

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: which is formal, or whether it's done informally,during the ongoing process of work.Whether it's sequential versus random, and whether it'sfixed versus variable.Which is about whether there's a timetable for eventsand where the various stages haveto be achieved at each point before going on to the next.And then finally two more social dimensions,

    • 02:59

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: serial versus disjunctive.Which is about whether there are role modelsavailable for the new employee to learn from.And then investiture versus divestiture, where investitureis that the new employees feels valued for the unique abilitiesand skills that they bring into the role.Various categorizations of these tactics have been proposed.

    • 03:20

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: But the most common is that the more structuredend the tactics are known as institutionalizedsocialization.Whereas the more laissez-faire and informal sideof the tactics are known as individualized socialization.And in the main research is foundthat the institutionalized tactics, that is,collective, formal, sequential, fixed, serial,

    • 03:42

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: and investiture tactics, that thoseare associated with positive outcomes such as loweranxiety, lower ambiguity, lower conflict and tend to quit,and higher levels of task mastery, job satisfaction,and organizational commitment.In contrast, individualized tacticstend to not be associated with good outcomes on the whole.

    • 04:02

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: But they are associated with greater role innovation, suchthat the newcomer is able to figure things outfor themselves and innovate and do things in the waythat they want to.But obviously that kind of innovationcomes along with a lot more role ambiguity and perhaps lesssatisfaction because the newcomeris having to work hard to figure things out.

    • 04:25

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: A new theory has come through more recentlyby Alan Saks and Jamie Gruman, whichthey've called socialization resources theory, in which theytake a new angle on how organizations structurethe resources that they provide during socialization to helpnewcomers.And they focus on specific practices,such as providing job resources, supervisorsupport and information.

    • 04:47

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: Given that it's quite a new theory,there's not much research on this so far.But it looks like it's going to bea very useful model for understanding how organizationscan help newcomers by providing these resources.Or, in contrast, if they neglect to provide these resources,it may hinder the adjustment and socialization of new employees.

    • 05:08

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: A more traditional approach to understandingorganizational socialization, is to thinkabout the process as a series of stages or phases.That has historically been a way of thinkingabout organizational socialization,particularly in the 1970s.And conceptually it's very useful

    • 05:29

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: because you consider, say, the period before the newcomerstarts a new role, what they need to know then.Then you can think about their early tenurein the role, or just post adjustment immediately,then what do they need to know.And then finally, in later adjustment phases, what kindof learning, what sort of attitudes and so on,are prevalent at that later period.However, there's very little empirical evidence

    • 05:50

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: that these distinct phases exist.However, there is one interestingfinding from this early period of researchon the importance of peremptory or anticipatory organizationalsocialization.And so that's to say that during the recruitment and selectionprocess, while potential future employees are candidates

    • 06:11

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: during assessment processes, theyare exposed to insiders in the organizationoften as assessors.Or if they do tours, they might meet people.And that begins to get them an understanding of whatit would be like to work in the organization.And that can help to start the adjustment processand then facilitate that so that once they actuallygo through the door on their first day,

    • 06:31

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: they've already started that socialization process.And you also see practically some of the onboarding softwarethat's now available does a lot of that pre-onboardingand provides a lot of information to new employeesso they can start to adjust to the new organizationeven before they started being an employeeand being paid a salary.

    • 06:54

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: Another prevalent area I wanted to talk aboutis newcomer proactive behavior.So, while the tactics that the organization usesare one way in which newcomers adjust,they also rely on their own proactivityto achieve adjustment outcomes to helpthem to fit the organization.And it's true that however well prepared they are,they're likely to have some surprises in terms of things

    • 07:16

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: they didn't expect to occur or how things are usuallydone at the new organization.So newcomers may need to rely on their own proactive behaviorsto achieve a better fit with their work environmentand figure out what their role is and how to fit in.The work on newcomer proactive behaviorvery much stems from initial workby Susan Ashford and Stewart Black,

    • 07:38

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: who had a 1996 paper in the Journal of Applied Psychology.And more recently, through researchthat I've done with colleagues, we'vedivided the proactive behaviors and the strategiesthat new employees use into three categories.The first category is change self,in which the newcomer can ask questions or seek feedback,or in other ways try and adapt themselves

    • 08:00

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: through behaving proactively so that they know howto better fit the environment.The second category of proactive behavior we've categorizedis mutual development, where the newcomer aimsto modify both him or herself and modify the environmentto achieve better socialization.So this might be things like networking or exchanging

    • 08:20

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: resources, where they're giving some amountof informational behavior.And then they're gaining some back.And that together achieves a better fit for them.And then the third category is changethe role or the environment.So in this case, the newcomer is tryingto change either the job or the work procedures so that theybetter fit the skills and abilities

    • 08:41

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: that the newcomer has.In general, research shows that newcomerswho behave more proactively achieve more positive outcomes.So, for example, they learn more,they're clearer about their role,and they're more likely to want to stay with the organization.More recently research has also investigatedproactive outcomes.So, that's whether or not proactive behavior

    • 09:02

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: has achieved its intended goal.So, as an example, if a newcomer used a proactive behaviorsuch as seeking feedback on their performance,research has looked to the extentto which the newcomer then obtained the proactive outcomeassociated with that.So, in this case, actually obtained performance feedback.And research has shown that proactive outcomes both mediateand moderate the relationships of proactive behaviors

    • 09:25

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: with outcomes such as social integration and jobsatisfaction.So alongside proactive behaviors,proactive outcomes also are important in facilitatingorganizational socialization.As well as the organization and the new employees themselves,the other party who can influence

    • 09:45

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: organizational socialization is the many peopleinside the organization who can influence the newcomerand act as agents of socialization.So these could include managers, peers, mentors, buddies,and even clients or customers of the newcomer.And they could have either a positive or a negative impact.So in terms of positive influences,

    • 10:06

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: colleagues can help the newcomer adjustby providing information, feedback, being a role model,developing social relationships, providing social support,and also providing access to broader social networksand other resources such as information or moneyor shortcuts of how to do work more efficiently.But more recent research has also

    • 10:26

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: found that colleagues can also behave destructivelytowards newcomers.For example, abusive supervision canhave long term detrimental effectson how new employees adjust.In spite of the possible negative effect of insiders,newcomers tend to regard insidersas the most useful source of information,

    • 10:47

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: and more so than formal orientation programs.In recent years, this utility of these insidersyou can help newcomers achieve socializationhas been understood through modelsthat identify the different types of capitalthat newcomers accrue.And particular among these, as has beennoted, the importance of social capital.

    • 11:08

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: Acknowledging that resources such as informationare embedded in social relationships.So newcomers need to first developthose relationships that give thema connection to colleagues and to clientsthat then provide them with information that they can thenuse.But it depends on them being able to mobilizethose resources.So to be able to use those connections effectively

    • 11:30

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: so that those other people are willing to provide themwith resources such as information.In particular, social capital is important.That's the relationships that the newcomer establishes.And that then can be used to facilitatelearning, social integration, and successful performance.A more recent work done by Talya Bauer and Berrin Erdogan

    • 11:52

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: has also expanded this capital modelto include psychological capital.Which is positive motivational tendencies.Human capital, which is an individual's knowledge,skills, and experience.And also cultural capital, so that'sthe knowledge, skills, and experiencethat give stakes in that particular societySo that's the first section I was going to talk about,

    • 12:15

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: that's process approaches.I'm now going to talk a bit more about content approachesto understanding organizational socialization.So, first of all, newcomer learning.This has been the key element underlyingorganizational socialization and isantecedent to other outcomes, such as taskmastery, performance, and job satisfaction.So you can only achieve mastery of your task performance

    • 12:37

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: and feel like you're satisfied in your job when you actuallyunderstand about what you're supposed to be doingand who you're supposed to be working withand the context of the organization in which you'redoing that work.So, to date, five information basedmodels of organizational socializationcontent, or learning, have been developed.And they have associated measures.

    • 12:57

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: And the domains that have been identifiedinclude task, role and performance learning,social, people and group processes learning,learning about the organization overall,including domains such as history and language,into personal resources and coworker support, training,and future prospects.So you can see there's quite a wide varietyof different domains that newcomers are expected

    • 13:21

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: to need to learn about.Beyond learning, there are other proximal outcomesthat have been identified as indicatorsof newcomer adjustment.So, these have been divided into proximal and distal outcomes.And the proximal outcomes have been focused on more soin the last decade.These include the various types of learningI've just discussed.But also task mastery, role clarity, social integration,

    • 13:45

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: and performance.And I would argue that of these newcomer performanceis critical for both the newcomer and the organization,because a newcomer will only be retained by the organizationif they're forming at a good standard.And moreover, it's likely that a newcomer, themselves, will onlywant to stay in the organization if they're performing well.However, I'd emphasize that performance often

    • 14:06

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: relies on other aspects of socialization such as learning.So, for example, a newcomer needsto learn what is considered good performance before theycan put that into practice and actually displaythat good performance.Equally, integration and social networksprovide the newcomer with access to intangible resourcessuch as advice and information.In terms of more distal outcomes,

    • 14:28

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: traditionally research has measured attitudes.And that's still the case.So, successful organizational socializationis indicated by attitudes such as greater job satisfactionand organizational commitment, and also more recently workengagement also.And a lower intention of leaving and lower turnover.Research has also considered the role of newcomer well-being.

    • 14:51

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: Such that organizational socializationcan said to be successful when newcomers achievegreater well-being and reductions in anxietyand stress after the initial challengingperiod of organizational entry.Despite these developments across various typesof content and proximal distal outcomes,there is no universally agreed standard

    • 15:12

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: which could be claimed that a newcomer hasbeen fully socialized.Nor is there general agreement over how longorganizational socialization lastsin different circumstances.Although it may take as long as one year.In this final section I'm going to briefly touchon individual differences in organizational socialization.So, newcomers obviously play an active role

    • 15:34

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: in their organizational socialization.And therefore, the individual differencesthat they bring to the role are important.Demographic variables, in terms of sociodemographic variables,work experience has been found to have mixed effects.Although, past transition experience positivelypredicts the rate of newcomer performance improvement.Also with regard to gender, female newcomers

    • 15:57

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: tend to report lower self efficacy, higher self punishingbehavior and poor treatment by colleagues,relative to male newcomers.And then those who differ more from their work groupin terms of education and gender tendto behave less proactively.And finally, those who differ in terms of age, actually,have been found to behave more proactively.Looking at personality variables,

    • 16:18

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: newcomers with high self efficacyand behavioral self-management tendto use more independent strategiesand achieve better outcomes.Furthermore, extroversion, openness to experience,and curiosity are associated with higher levelsof proactive behavior, such as information seeking, feedbackseeking, and relationship building.And we know that, in turn, greater levelsof proactive behavior are associated with better

    • 16:40

      HELENA COOPER THOMAS [continued]: socialization success.Also related to these proactive behaviorsis the role of proactive personality.And that predicts positive outcomes, such as task masteryand social integration.And finally, newcomers who are more similar in termsof their values to the organizationthat they join also enjoy quicker and better adjustment.

Organizational Socialization

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Abstract

Professor Helena Cooper Thomas discusses the key elements needed for successful workplace acceptance and integration. She identifies both organizational and personal assets to ensure that a new employee and a company establish a successful relationship.

Organizational Socialization

Professor Helena Cooper Thomas discusses the key elements needed for successful workplace acceptance and integration. She identifies both organizational and personal assets to ensure that a new employee and a company establish a successful relationship.

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