Institutionalized Socialization Tactics as Predictors of Voice Behavior among New Employees

By Liu, Pingqing; Chen, Yang et al. | Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal, November 2017 | Go to article overview

Institutionalized Socialization Tactics as Predictors of Voice Behavior among New Employees


Liu, Pingqing, Chen, Yang, Wang, Xue, Hou, Chengping, Social Behavior and Personality: an international journal


Organizations in the 21st century are growing increasingly reliant on innovative input from employees, and injecting fresh blood is a common way to increase creative ideas. One measure of successful socialization is the development of voice behavior among new employees. Institutionalized socialization tactics assist new employees, whose voice is insufficiently encouraged, in adjusting to their work environment. In this time-lagged quantitative field study with 221 new generation employees in Beijing, China, we explored institutionalized socialization tactics and their influence on voice behavior, and newcomer adjustment as a form of voice behavior mediation. Results showed that institutionalized socialization tactics were highly correlated with newcomer adjustment and voice behavior. Our results have practical implications for the development of newcomer adjustment.

Keywords: new employees, organizational socialization, institutionalized socialization, voice behavior, newcomer adjustment, role clarity, task mastery, social integration.

In this competitive commercial world, organizations rely on employees' constructive ideas and suggestions to accelerate innovation. However, despite its critical function in an organization, voice behavior does not often appear in the everyday workplace (Detert & Burris, 2007). Thus, it is vital for organizations to find solutions to facilitate employee voice behavior.

Prior researchers have found that personality and demographic characteristics (Crant, 2003; LePine & Van Dyne, 2001), employee attitudes (Rusbult, Farrell, Rogers, & Mainous, 1988; Withey & Cooper, 1989), organizational context, and specific leadership (Detert & Burris, 2007) are related to voice behavior. Although institutionalized socialization is often employed by organizations to encourage conformity, Ashforth and Saks (1996) stated that institutionalized socialization can also be used to foster innovation. For example, Kunda (1992) described how a high-tech company relied on institutionalized-oriented training to promote employee output. Levine, Moreland, and Choi (2001) showed that group socialization had implications for newcomers' ability to be innovative. However, voice, a form of employee creative behavior, has not been sufficiently studied in the area of organizational socialization (Bauer, Bodner, Erdogan, Truxillo, & Tucker, 2007). Newcomers' voice behavior should be investigated because injecting fresh blood into an organization is a common method used to increase creative ideas (Rink, Kane, Ellemers, & van der Vegt, 2013).

In this time-lagged study, we contributed to the literature by increasing understanding of newcomer adjustment after the new employees had experienced organizational socialization tactics, with voice behavior as the desired outcome.

Literature Review and Hypotheses

Socialization Tactics and Employee Voice Behavior

Organizational socialization is a dynamic development process through which individuals learn to adopt the member role in an organization (Feldman, 1976). Van Maanen and Schein's (1979) typology of socialization tactics is a classic model comprising six tactics on a bipolar continuum: collective-individual, formal--informal, sequential--fixed, variable--random, serial--disjunctive, and investiture--divestiture. Jones (1986) divided their typology into three categories according to their main foci: context (collective--individual, formal--informal), content (changed to sequential--random, fixed--variable), and social (serial--disjunctive, investiture--divestiture). Jones also divided Van Maanen and Schein's typology into institutionalized socialization, which is a structured process, comprising collective, formal, sequential, fixed, serial, and investiture tactics, and individualized socialization, which is free of structure, comprising individual, informal, random, variable, disjunctive, and divestiture tactics. …

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