1. HROB- Chapter 8
Social Influence in Organizations
• As a result of social influence, people often feel or act differently from
how they would as independent operators.
• This is because in many social settings, and especially in groups,
people are highly dependent on others.
• This dependence sets the stage for influence to occur.
• Two kinds of dependence are information dependence and effect
• Reliance on others for information about how to think, feel, and act.
• Information dependence gives others the opportunity to influence our
thoughts, feelings, and actions via the signals they send to us.
• This process is explained by social information processing theory.
Social Information Processing Theory
• Organizational members use information from others to interpret
events and develop expectations about appropriate and acceptable
attitudes and behaviours.
• The effects of social information can be very strong, often exerting as
much or more influence over others as objective reality.
• Individual behaviour is influenced and shaped by others.
• Reliance on others due to their capacity to provide rewards and
• The group frequently has a vested interest in how individual members
think and act. • Group members desire the approval of the group.
• These circumstances promote effect dependence.
• Managers have many rewards and punishments available (e.g.,
promotions, raises, assignment of favourable tasks).
• Effects available to co-workers include praise, friendship, and a
helping hand on the job.
• Lack of cooperation might result in nagging, harassment, name calling,
or social isolation.
The Social Influence Process and Conformity
• One of the most obvious consequences of information and effect
dependence is the tendency for group members to conform to the
social norms that have been established by the group.
• There are three different motives for social conformity:
• Conformity to a social norm prompted by the desire to acquire
rewards or avoid punishment.
• Compliance is the simplest, most direct motive for conformity to
• It primarily involves effect dependence.
• Conformity to a social norm prompted by perceptions that those who
promote the norm are attractive or similar to oneself.
• Information dependence is especially important. • If someone is basically similar to you, then you will be motivated to
rely on that person for information about how to think and act.
• Conformity to a social norm prompted by true acceptance of the
beliefs, values, and attitudes that underlie the norm.
• Conformity occurs because it is seen as right, not because it achieves
rewards, avoids punishment, or pleases others.
• Conformity is due to internal, rather than external forces.
The Social Influence Process and Conformity (continued)
• Simple compliance can set the stage for more complete identification
and involvement with organizational norms and roles.
• The process through which this occurs in organizations is known as
• Socialization is the process by which people learn the attitudes,
knowledge, and behaviours that are necessary to function in a group
• It is a learning process in which new members must acquire
knowledge, change their attitudes, and perform new behaviours.
• It is the primary means by which organizations communicate the
organization’s culture and values to new members.
• Socialization methods influence immediate or proximal outcomes
which lead to more distal or longer-term outcomes. The Socialization Process
Organizational Socialization (continued)
• Learning during socialization involves four main content areas or
domains of learning:
– Work group
• One of the goals of socialization is to provide new hires with
information and knowledge about their role to avoid problems of role
conflict and role ambiguity.
• An important objective of organizational socialization is for
newcomers to achieve a good fit.
• There are three kinds of fit that are important for socialization:
– Person-job fit (PJ fit) – Person-organization fit (PO fit)
– Person-group fit (PG fit)
• Person-job (PJ) fit refers to the match between an employee’s
knowledge, skills, and abilities and the requirements of a job.
• Person-organization (PO) fit refers to the match between an
employee’s personal values and the values of an organization.
• Person-group (PG) fit refers to the match between an employee’s
personal values and the values of his/her work group.
• PJ and PO fit are strongly influenced by the socialization process and
are related to job attitudes and behaviours.
• An important outcome of socialization is organizational identification.
• Organizational identification refers to the extent to which an
individual defines him- or herself in terms of the organization and
what it is perceived to represent.
• It reflects an individual’s learning and acceptance of an organization’s
• The socialization process occurs before organization membership
formally begins as well as once new members enter the organization.
• Socialization is an on-going process by virtue of continuous interaction
with others in the organization.
• It is most potent during certain periods of membership transition.
Stages of Socialization
• Socialization is an ongoing process that involves three stages.
• One of the stages occurs before entry, another immediately after
entry, and the last occurs after one has been a member for some
period of time.
• The first two stages represent hurdles for achieving passage into the
third stage. Anticipatory Socialization
• Socialization that takes place before a person becomes a member of a
• Includes formal and informal experiences.
• Organizations vary in the extent to which they encourage anticipatory
• Not all anticipatory socialization is accurate and useful for the new
• The new recruit encounters day-to-day reality of organ