Socialization, Resocialization, and Communication Relationships in the Context of an Organizational Change

By Hart, Zachary P.; Miller, Vernon D. et al. | Communication Studies, Winter 2003 | Go to article overview

Socialization, Resocialization, and Communication Relationships in the Context of an Organizational Change


Hart, Zachary P., Miller, Vernon D., Johnson, John R., Communication Studies


It is generally held that organizations seek to socialize newcomers so that they will conform to prescribed norms and values, perform their roles efficiently, and exhibit commitment to the organization (Van Maanen & Schein, 1979). Indeed, organizations at times specifically design a set of experiences to instruct newcomers in the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to perform their new role (Chao, O'Leary, Wolf, Klein, & Gardner, 1994; Jones, 1986; Van Maanen & Schein, 1979). However, relationships between socialization efforts and their outcomes are not easily discerned as most studies to date only consider the impact of socialization tactics and neglect other notable influences such as communication messages and relationships that provide direct meaning to employees' socialization experiences. Messages from role set members are critical because supervisors, coworkers, and subordinates can clarify, reinforce, and/or contradict organizational messages (Jablin, 2001) and have considerable influence on employees' attitudes about their job and the organization (Salancik, 1977).

In addition, socialization research typically only considers newcomers, neglecting incumbents undergoing fundamental changes due to restructuring or shifts in organizational priorities (Feldman, 1989). Socialization is a part of all work role transitions both into and within organizations (Van Maanen & Schein, 1979), and firms expend considerable time and effort on training programs that seek to resocialize their current employees (Feldman, 1989).

This investigation examines the socialization of new hires and the resocialization of incumbents as part of an organizational change. Specifically, this study focuses on the relative impact of communication relationships and organizational socialization tactics on newcomers' and incumbents' organizational commitment and two key role outcomes, role ambiguity and role conflict. The perceived socialization experiences of newcomers and incumbents, characteristics of their communication relationships with role set members, and socialization outcomes are measured following an introductory training session and 4 months later. Following a review of socialization tactics and the influence of communication relationships on employees' role ambiguity, role conflict, and employee commitment and the study's methodology, we report the results of the study, discuss the results, and suggest directions for future research.

ORGANIZATIONAL SOCIALIZATION AND RESOCIALIZATION

Faced with uncertainty about how to perform a new role, unfamiliar colleagues, and new practices, employees need to obtain information that will enable effective role performance and adjustment to organizational norms (Jablin, 2001). Through socialization tactics, organizations determine individuals' access (or lack thereof) to information sources, their length and nature of training, and interpersonal treatment (Van Maanen & Schein, 1979). Van Maanen and Schein's (1979) socialization tactics represent a continuum of experiences that employees may encounter.

Collective tactics put a group of individuals through a common set of experiences while individual tactics provide members with unique experiences in isolation from other employees. Formal tactics segregate targeted employees from other members and provide materials designed specifically for them while informal tactics offer learning by trial and error. Sequential tactics offer discrete and recognizable steps leading to full membership while the steps to full membership are ambiguous and unknown with random tactics. Employees experiencing fixed tactics have a specific timeframe for completion of a boundary passage while those experiencing variable socialization tactics do not have a specific timeframe. Serial tactics offer access to prior role occupants or others' role expectations. Prior role occupants are unavailable or the role is newly created in disjunctive tactics. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Socialization, Resocialization, and Communication Relationships in the Context of an Organizational Change
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.