Academic journal article Journal of Managerial Issues

The Effects of Pre-Entry Experiences and Socialization Tactics on Newcomer Attitudes and Turnover

Academic journal article Journal of Managerial Issues

The Effects of Pre-Entry Experiences and Socialization Tactics on Newcomer Attitudes and Turnover

Article excerpt

Over two decades of research has indicated that initial experiences with an organization influence newcomers' work attitudes and behavior (Feldman, 1976; Saks and Ashforth, 1997). For example, pre-entry experiences during the recruitment and selection process are considered to be part of the anticipatory socialization phase. During this phase, initial views of the organization are formed by newcomers that can have functional or dysfunctional consequences for their later attitudes and behaviors (Feldman, 1976; Fisher, 1986). Similarly, organizational socialization tactics applied in the weeks following entry represent another set of meaningful experiences that can affect newcomers' work-related attitudes and behavior (Jones, 1986).

To date, the majority of empirical studies have examined pre-entry experiences or socialization tactics separately. Thus, the joint effects of both on newcomer attitudes and behavior are unclear. One reason for the separation was the suggestion that the effects of pre-entry experiences are unimportant because they are displaced by the actual post-entry socialization experiences with the job and organization (McEvoy and Gascio, 1985; Miceli, 1986; Reilly et al. 1981). Others counter this suggestion and argue that pre-entry experiences remain a strong influence on work attitudes and behaviors months or years after entry (Breaugh, 1983; Feldman, 1976; Mabey et al., 1996). Given the high costs associated with recruiting and training new employees, managers and researchers alike have a pervasive interest in understanding all experiences associated with newcomers' work-related attitudes and behavior. As such, this study examines the effects of pre-entry experiences, as well as post-entry socialization tactics, on newcomers' subsequent work attitudes and turnover.

THEORETICAL MODEL AND HYPOTHESES

Our proposed theoretical model is depicted in Figure I. Step 1 in the model suggests that both pre-entry experiences and socialization tactics are positively associated with post-entry person-job fit and organization-based self-esteem (perceptions of worth). Job fit and worth are hypothesized to be positively associated with newcomer work attitudes (step 2), which in turn are negatively associated with newcomer turnover (step 3). Each step of the model is explained in the following sections.

Step 1: Pre-entry Experiences and Socialization Tactics[rightarrow]Fit and Worth

The two pre-entry experiences examined in this study include the job choice experience and pre-entry perceptions of person-job fit.

Job Choice Experience. The job choice experience is considered positive to the extent that the individual receives a number of job offers, believes that the job market is attractive, and has a relatively easy time making the job choice decision. As presented in Figure I, a positive job choice experience should be positively related to post-entry perceptions of person-job fit (P-J fit). P-J fit focuses on the fit between the individual's needs and the job rewards available to meet those needs. As noted by Saks and Ashforth,

"the number of jobs available and the number of offers received by applicants should be related to their perceptions of P-J fit. According to Breaugh (1983), the perception of choice is an important condition for self-selection. Job seekers with more job opportunities can choose organizations that are a better fit (Cable and Judge, 1996; Chatman, 1991). Thus, to the extent that one has more than one job offer and hence the perception of choice, they will be more likely to choose a job that they perceive to be a good fit" (1997:400).

On the other hand, if an applicant has a negative job choice experience, it may result in uncertainty about the job and thus the individual might perceive less post-entry job fit.

Positive job choice experiences should also be positively related to feelings of worth. Worth was operationalized as organization-based self-esteem (OBSE), or the individual's belief that s/he has worth specifically as an organizational member. …

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