3-stage model of organizational socialization, how would you describe the way you were socialized into an organization where you have worked? Evaluate how well the model fits your experience.
The three stages of the socialization process include anticipatory socialization before entry into the organization (typically in the form of orientation, but which can also take place even in graduate school or through other forms of personal preparation); the encounter with the organization itself; and finally the metamorphosis when the individual has been permanently changed by the socialization process. (Werner & DeSimone 2005) For friends of mine who have entered into very institutionalized workplaces such as law or medicine, this model rings particularly true — they are socialized by a professional school, by studying to pass licensing exams, and then are subjected to the orientation of the organization itself. By the time they are prepared for the actual encounter, they have endured a liminal period in which their old values are cast off and in which they must anticipate and embrace change. The organization and work ethic is so all-encompassing it changes the way they relate to others permanently and the way they see themselves.
“Socialization is broadly defined as a process in which an individual acquires the attitudes, behaviors and knowledge needed to successfully participate as an organizational member” (Organizational entry, 2014, SHRM). Even though my own participation in organizations has not been quite as overwhelming as some others, it is still noteworthy the extent to which working has changed my values and ethics, instilling the principles of responsibility within me in a more meaningful fashion than I could have ever previously anticipated. Like most employees, I had an orientation: “83% of companies report the use of a formal orientation program for new employees” (Organizational entry, 2014, SHRM). However, the real orientation came in the more subtle forms of inculcation in organizational values. I believe this is true for most people, depending on the nature of the work and who has been hired by the organization. A highly competitive organizational culture rewarded on bonuses will be different from an organizational culture at a school or research institute.
This idea that those whom with you associate ‘make’ your culture is reflected in the writings of the Apostle Paul: “But I now have written unto you not to keep company with any man who is called a brother if he is a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner. With such a one you are not even to eat” (1 Corinthians 5:11). However, formal socialization is often very valuable because it lacks the dangers of gossip, incorrect information and personal biases as in informal socialization: “research suggests tactics that are more collective, formal, sequential, fixed, serial and supportive enhance newcomer loyalty and reduce turnover” (Organizational entry, 2014, SHRM). The Christian worldview supports the nation that people are in a constant state of potential change which leaves them open to salvation — however, negative influences can just as easily cause them to ‘fall’ by virtue of their free will. That is why someone must be so careful of one’s choice of companion both in the workplace and elsewhere. It is very easy to have a negative attitude, for example, if you are socialized by a negative person.
Organizational entry. (2014). SHRM. Retrieved from:
Werner, R. & DeSimone, J. (2005). Human resource development. SouthWestern.
Response Essay 1:
I agree that adjusting to an organization is a dialogue, not a monologue: it is a conversation between the new individual and also the existing organization. But I do think that all individuals to some degree experience the initial anticipatory phase in an uncomfortable manner — no one is a seamless fit for the organization initially. ‘Shopping’ for a job is part of the anticipatory phase to some degree, but that is wholly self-directed (Werner & DeSimone 2005). Only later when the individual encounters others in the organization does he or she fully understand the reality, which can be very different from the ideal depicted in the job organization. Reshaping is an ongoing process as gradually newcomers began to confront unrealistic expectations.
Even if, as in your case, these expectations are met in a positive fashion, the socialization process is still an ongoing movement towards greater and greater change since the organization is never static. An organization which initially seemed like a good, comfortable fit may not always be so for the individual. Because the assumptions are also very complex, they may shift depending on the roles individuals play in the organization over the course of their duration within its confines. Socialization includes “the basic goals of the organization; the preferred means by which these goals should be attained; the basic responsibilities of the member in the role which is being granted to him by the organization; the behavior patterns which are required for effective performance in the role;” and finally a “set of rules or principles which pertain to the maintenance of the identity and integrity of the organization” (Schein 1998). Changes in technology, new management, and other external factors can cause all of these to change in a profound fashion. Still, usually the greatest shift occurs from entry to experience: “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13: 11).
Schein, E. (1998). Organizational socialization and the profession of management.
Sloane Review. Retrieved from: http://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/organizational-socialization-and-the-profession-of-management/
Werner, R. & DeSimone, J. (2005). Human resource development. SouthWestern.
Response Essay 2
Evaluation at the reaction, learning, behavior, and results level reflect different gradients of instinctual vs. reasoned behavior which finally is realized as action (Werner and DeSimone 2005). Most of us, when we are new organizational members, merely react at the gut level to new circumstances without much real thought. Then we proceed to a level of learning which is more meaningful and in-depth followed by being able to actually execute the tasks on a behavioral level and ‘do’ them. Appropriate employee training (and employee screening on the ‘results’ level) to ensure that organizational objectives were achieved is essential. Performance evaluations should also assess how knowledge is used over time, versus merely using a test to ensure that new employees memorized the facts disseminated during the orientation.
Good training can pay off for the organization: “the correlation of employee training to employee retention is nothing to sneeze at; some studies have attributed a retention increase by as much as 70% to employee training. That can have a huge impact on your bottom line, especially when you consider the resources that go into establishing a new hire into your organization” (How employee training benefits everyone, 2014, HC Careers). It was also found that “training increases employee efficiency and productivity (some say up to 230%). It also keeps employees up-to-date with new technology and current best practices, resulting in superior job performance” (How employee training benefits everyone, 2014, HC Careers). However, training must guide employees through all phases of understanding and not merely exist on a knowledge-based level — knowing is far different than being able to execute something in practice. It is not enough to make a show of doing something as the Gospel teaches: “But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth” (Matthew 6:3).
How employee training benefits everyone. (2014). HC Careers. Retrieved from: