Describe the Socialization factors in an organizational socialization.

An organization has a culture but its individual members will be replaced over time. For the organization’s culture to endure it must be transmitted from current organizational members to new members. This process is called organizational socialization. It is especially important in organizations with strong cultures. Organizations with weak cultures have less to transmit and will tend to experience culture change as members come and go with their own particular societal cultures. Socialization has three phases: anticipatory socialization, encounter and change and acquisition.

Anticipatory Socialization:

A certain degree of socialization occurs even before the new member joins the organization. What a person has heard about working for a local fast food chain can give him or her an idea of what to expect if hired. Individuals who do not believe they would fit in may not even apply to join. The socialization of those who do join is therefore easier.

Organizations use the interviewing process to begin the socialization of new members. A realistic job preview attempts to paint a realistic picture of what to expect from the job and the organization. The idea is that upon entry the recruit is not shocked by unanticipated problems. Interviewing is also used to determine the degree of match between the values of potential recruits and the values of the organization. New recruits with personal values matching those of the firm have been found to adjust to the organization’s culture more quickly than recruits with non-matching values.

Organizations also send cultural messages to potential new members during interviews. When there are several rounds of interviews with progressively senior members of the organization, the message sent is of the importance of finding the best person for the position. In contrast, hiring for a part-time job at the lowest level of the organization is often accomplished quickly, with a person having minimally acceptable qualifications hired on the spot. The cultural message in this case is that such employees are easily let into and out of the organization.


The first day on a new job is one of encounter. The new recruit is told what to do and how to do it. A common feeling in the encounter phase is of being lost, confused, and overwhelmed with information. Since many new employees do not get a very good first impression of the organization, a practical way to help the new member become socialized is to provide a newcomer’s welcome package that contains useful information about the organization and how it works.

Change and Acquisition:

At this stage newcomers begin to acquire and internalize the culture of the organization. This results in some change in their beliefs and values. When a member of an organization is considered an old hand and is asked to show new organizational members the ropes, that person may be considered to have successfully acquired the organization’s culture.

The change and acquisition process is made easier when organizational newcomers are active in seeking information about their job, role, and the organization’s culture. This suggests that both the newcomer and the organization affect socialization.

The socialization factors in organizational socialization are:

  • Influence of subcultures relevance for gender and minority issues.
  • Cross-cultural comparisons.
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