Entry Socialization Options

Formal Vs Informal: The more new employee is segregated from the ongoing work setting and differentiated in some way to make explicit his or her newcomer’s role, the more formal socialization is. Specific orientation and training programs are examples. Informal socialization puts the new employee directly into the job, with little or no special attention.

Individual Vs Collective: New members can be socialized individually. This describes how it’s done in many professional offices. They can also be grouped together and processed through an identical set of experiences as in military boot camp.

Fixed vs Variable: This refers to the time schedule in which newcomers make the transition from outsider to insider. A fixed schedule establishes standardized stages of transition. This characterizes rotational training programs. It also includes probationary periods, such as the 8 to 10 year associate status used by accounting and law forms before deciding on whether or not a candidate is made a partner. Variable schedules given no advance notice of their transition variable schedules describe the typical promotion system in which one is not advanced to the next stage until one is ‘ready’

Serial Vs Random: Serial socialization is characterized by the use of role models who train and encourage the newcomer. Apprenticeship and mentoring programs are examples. In random socialization, role models are deliberately withheld. New employees are left on their own to figure things out.

Investiture Vs Divestiture: Investiture socialization assumes that the newcomer’s qualities and qualifications are the necessary ingredients for job success, so these qualities and qualifications are confirmed and supported. Divestiture socialization tries to strip away certain characteristics of the recruit. Fraternity and sorority pledges do through divestiture socialization to shape them into the proper role.

One way to capitalize on the importance of pre-hire characteristics in socialization is to select employee with the ‘right stuff’ and to use the selection process to inform prospective employees about the organizations as a whole. In addition, as noted previously, the selection process also acts to ensure the inclusion of the right type – those who will fit in. Indeed the ability of the individual to present the appropriate face during the selection process determines his ability to move into the organization in the first pace. Thus, success depends on the degree to which the aspiring member has correctly anticipated the expectations and desires of those on the organizations in charge of selection.

On entry into the organization, the new member enters the encounter stage. Here the individual confronts the possible dichotomy between expectations about the job, the coworkers, the boss, and the organizations in general and reality. If expectations prove to have been more or less accurate, the encounter stage merely provides a reaffirmation of the perceptions gained earlier. However, this is often not the case. Where expectations and reality differ, the new employee must undergo socialization that will detach her from her previous assumptions and replace them with another set that the organization deems desirable. At the extreme, a new member may become totally disillusioned with the actualities of the job and redesign Proper selection should significantly reduce the probability of the latter-occurrence. Also, an employee’s network of friends and coworkers can play a critical role in helping them learn the ropes. Newcomers are more committed to the organization when their friendship networks are large and diverse. So, organizations can help newcomers socialize by encouraging friendship ties in organizations.

Finally, the new member must work out any problems discovered during the encounter stage. This may mean going through changes hence, we call this the metamorphosis stage. Then options presented above are alternatives designed to bring about the desired metamorphosis. Note, for example, that the more management relies on socialization programs that are formal, collective fixed serial and emphasize the greater the likelihood that new comer differences and perspectives will be stripped away and replaced by standardization and predictable behaviors. Careful selection by management of newcomers’ socialization experience can at the extreme create conformist who maintain traditions and customs, or inventive and creative individualists who consider no organizational practice scared. —