MGTB23 – Chapter 8 – Social Influence, Socialization, and Culture
Social Influence in Organizations
- In many social settings, especially in groups, people are highly dependent on others. This
dependence sets the stage for influence to occur.
Information Dependence and Effect Dependence
- Information Dependence is the reliance on others for information about how to think, feel, and act.
It gives other the opportunity to influence our thoughts, feelings, and actions via the signal they send
- Individuals usually compare thoughts, feelings, and actions as a means of acquiring information.
- Individuals are dependent on the ‘effects’ of their behaviour as determined by the rewards and
punishments provided by others.
- Effect Dependence is the reliance on others due to their capacity to provide rewards and
punishment. It has 2 complementary processes:
o First, the group frequently has a vested interest in how individual members think and act
because such matters can affect the goal attainment of the group.
o Second, the member frequently desires the approval of the group.
Social Influence in Action
- One of the most 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.
Motives for Social Conformity
- The Catholic Church versus the prison example.
Compliance – Conformity to a social norm prompted by the desire to acquire rewards or avoid
punishment. It primarily involves effect dependence. Although the individual adjusts his/her behaviour to
the norm, he/she does not really subscribe to the beliefs, values, and attitudes that underlie the norm.
Identification – Conformity to a social norm promoted by the perceptions that those who promote the
norm are attractive or similar to oneself. “They find other supporters attractive and see him/her as
similar to them.” There are elements of ED but ID is important because 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. It is
often revealed by an imitation process in which established members serve as models for the behaviour
Internalization – Conformity to a social norm prompted by true acceptance of the beliefs, values, and
attitudes that underlie the norm. Internalization of the norm has happened and conformity occurs
because it is seen as right. That is, conformity is due to internal rather than external forces.
The Subtle Power of Compliance
- A compliant individual is necessarily ‘doing’ something that is contrary to the way he or she ‘thinks’
or ‘feel’. One way to reduce this dissonance (conflict) is to cease conformity. The other method is to
accept the beliefs, values, and attitudes to support the norm in question. This is called organizational
socialization. MGTB23 – Chapter 8 – Social Influence, Socialization, and Culture
- Socialization is the process by which people learn the attitudes, knowledge, and behaviours that are
necessary to function in a group or organization.
- It is a learning process in which new members must acquire knowledge, change their attitudes, and
perform new behaviours.
- It is also the primary means by which organizations communicate the organization’s culture and
values to new members.
- See Exhibit 8.1
- One goal of socialization is to provide new hires with information and knowledge about their role to
avoid problems of role conflict and role ambiguity.
- An objective of organizational socialization is for newcomers to achieve a good fit.
o First, newcomers must acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to perform their work tasks
and roles. This is known as person-job fit or P-J fit and it is the match between an
employee’s knowledge, skills, and abilities, and the requirements of the job.
o Second, newcomers must learn the values and beliefs that are important to the group or
organization. This is the person-organization fit or P-O fit and it refers to the match
between an employee’s personal values and the values of an organization.
- One of the primary goals of organizational socialization is to ensure that new employees learn the
values and beliefs of an organization’s culture and for individuals to define themselves in terms of the
organization’s culture and for individuals to define themselves in terms of the organization and what
is perceived to represent. This is called the organizational identification which is the extent to
which an individual defines him/her in terms of the organization and what is perceived to represent.
- Socialization is important because it has a direct effect on proximal socialization outcomes (learning,
P-J fit, and P-O fit) which lead to a more positive distal outcome.
- Socialization is more potent during periods of membership transition such as when one is promoted
or assigned to a new group. Also, when one joins an organization. It is also an ongoing process.
Stages of Socialization
Anticipatory Socialization – Socialization before a person becomes a member of a particular
organization. This includes a formal process of skills and attitude acquisition such as that which might
occur by attending college or university, as well as hiring candidates. However, not all anticipatory
socialization is accurate and useful for the new member.
Encounter – In this stage, the new recruit with some expectations about organizational life,
encounters day-to-day reality of this life. Formal stages would be orientation programs and rotation
through various parts of the organization. Informal aspects would be getting to know and
understanding the style and personality of one’s boss and co-workers. At this stage, the organization
and its experienced members are looking for an acceptable degree of conformity to the
organizational norms and the gradual acquisition of appropriate role behaviour, while recruits want
their needs and expectations fulfilled.
Role Management – The new recruit might be in a position to modify the role to better serve the
organization. This requires forming connections outside the immediate work group. Also, members MGTB23 – Chapter 8 – Social Influence, Socialization, and Culture
must also confront balancing the now-familiar organizational role with non-work roles and family
Unrealistic Expectations and Psychological Contract
Unrealistic Expectations – People entering organizations have unrealistic and inaccurate
expectations. As a result, they experience a reality shock and their expectations are not met. Why do
they have these unrealistic expectations? Occupation stereotypes that media communicate are
responsible. For example, Grey’s Anatomy. Also, unrealistic expectations come from overzealous
recruiters who paint rosy pictures to attract job candidates.
Psychological Contract – Beliefs held by employees regarding the reciprocal obligations and
promises between them and their organization. For example, an employee might expect a bonus or a
reward for hard work.