MOS 2181 chapter 8.pdf

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Management and Organizational Studies
Management and Organizational Studies 2181A/B
Victoria Digby

MOS 2181  Chapter 8 Social Influence, Socialization, and Culture I. Social Influence in Organizations People often feel or act differently from how they would as independent operators as a result of social influence. 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. A. Information Dependence and Effect Dependence All of us need information from others and we are frequently highly dependent on others for information about the adequacy and appropriateness of our behaviour, thoughts, and feelings. Information dependence refers to our reliance on others for information about how to think, feel, and act. It gives others the opportunity to influence our thoughts, feelings, and actions via the signals they send to us. Individuals are also dependent on the effects of their behaviour as determined by the rewards and punishments provided by others. This effect dependence is the reliance on others due to their capacity to provide rewards and punishment. It occurs because the group has a vested interest in how individual members think and act, and the member desires the approval of the group. II. Social Influence in Action 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. A. Motives for Social Conformity Conformity is the tendency for group members to conform to the norms that have been established by the group. There are a number of different motives for conformity. Compliance. Members might conform because of compliance which is the simplest, most direct motive for conformity to group norms. It occurs because a member wishes to acquire rewards from the group and avoid punishment. As such, it primarily involves effect dependence. Identification. Some individuals conform because they find other supporters of the norm attractive. In this case, the individual identifies with these supporters and sees himself or herself as similar to them. Identification as a motive for conformity is often revealed by an imitation process in which established members serve as models for the behaviour of others. Internalization. Some conformity to norms occurs because individuals have truly and wholly accepted the beliefs, values, and attitudes that underlie the norm. Internalization occurs when individuals have truly and wholly accepted the beliefs, values, and attitudes that underlie the norm. B. The Subtle Power of Compliance In some cases, individuals conform to norms which they do not support. Much of this occurs because of social pressures and the desire to please others. But compliance often sets the stage for the more complete involvement with organizational norms and roles implicit in the stages of identification and internalization. III. Organizational Socialization Socialization is the process by which people learn the norms and roles that are necessary to function in a group or organization. Socialization methods (realistic job previews, employee orientation programs, socialization tactics, mentoring, proactive tactics) influence immediate or proximal socialization outcomes such as learning, task mastery, social integration, role conflict, role ambiguity, and person–job and person–organization fit. Proximal outcomes lead to distal or longer-term outcomes such as job satisfaction, organizational commitment, organizational identification, organizational citizenship behaviour, job performance, stress, and turnover. An important goal of socialization is to help newcomers assimilate and fit into the organization. Person-job fit refers to the match between an employee’s knowledge, skills, and abilities and the requirements of a job. Person-organization fit refers to the match between an employee’s personal values and the values of an organization. Research has found that both P-J and P-O fit are strongly related to the work adjustment of new hires. Socialization is an ongoing process by virtue of continuous interaction with others in the workplace. However, socialization is most potent during periods of membership transition, such as when one joins a new organization. A. Stages of Socialization Since organizational socialization is an ongoing process, it is useful to divide this process into three stages. One of these stages occurs before entry, another immediately follows entry, and the last occurs after one has been a member for some period of time. Anticipatory Socialization. A considerable amount of socialization occurs even before a person joins an organization. This process is called anticipatory socialization. However, not all anticipatory socialization is accurate and useful for the new member. Encounter. In the encounter stage, the new recruit encounters the day-to-day reality of organizational life. At this stage, the organization and its experienced members are looking for an acceptable degree of conformity to organizational norms and the gradual acquisition of appropriate role behaviour. Recruits are interested in having their personal needs and expectations fulfilled. Role Management. Having survived the encounter stage and acquired basic role behaviours, the member's attention shifts to fine-tuning and actively managing his or her role in the organization. This stage is referred to as role management. The role occupants might now begin to internalize the norms and values that are prominent in the organization. B. Unrealistic Expectations and the Psychological Contract People join organizations with expectations about what membership will be like and what they expect to receive in return for their efforts. Unfortunately, these expectations are often unrealistic and obligations between new members and organizations are often breached. Unrealistic Expectations. Although people have expectations about their jobs in organizations, many such expectations held by entering members are inaccurate and often unrealistically high. At times, the media is responsible. At other times corporate recruiters paint rosy pictures in order to attract job candidates to the organization. Psychological Contract. When people join organizations, they also have ideas about what they expect to receive from the organization and what they plan to give the organization in return. Such perceptions form what is known as the psychological contract and refers to beliefs held by employees concerning their reciprocal obligations between them and their organization. Unfortunately, psychological contract breach appears to be a common occurrence in organizations. Perceptions of psychological contract breach occur when an employee perceives that his or her organization has failed to fulfill one or more promised obligations of the psychological contract. This often results in feelings of anger and betrayal and can have a negative effect on employees’ work attitudes and behaviour. IV. Methods of Socialization Organizations differ in the extent to which they make use of other organizations to help socialize their members. The strategy of reliance on external agents is often used by organizations to help socialize their members. Thus, hospitals rely on medical schools to socialize doctors, while business firms rely on business schools to send them recruits who think and act in a business-like manner. On the other hand, organizations such as police forces, the military, and religious institutions are less likely to rely on external socializers. Organizations that handle their own socialization are especially interested in maintaining the continuity and stability of job behaviours over a period of time. Thus, organizations differ in terms of who does the socializing, how it is done, and how much is done. A. Realistic Job Previews Realistic job previews provide a balanced, realistic picture of the positive and negative aspects of the job to job applicants. When used properly, these previews can reduce unrealistic expectations on the part of new organizational members, reduce turnover, and improve job performance. B. Employee Orientation Programs Employee orientation programs are designed to introduce new employees to their job, the people they will be working with, and the organization. The main content of most orientation programs consists of health and safety issues, terms and conditions of employment, and information about the organization, such as its history and traditions. Another purpose of new employee orientation programs is to convey and form the psychological contract, and to teach newcomers how to cope with stressful work situations. Orientation programs can have a lasting effect on the job attitudes and behaviours of new hires and they can also lower turnover. C. Socialization Tactics Socialization tactics refer to the manner in which organizations structure the early work experiences of new members. There are six socialization tactics that vary on a bipolar continuum and include: Collective versus Individual Tactics. A number of new members are socialized as a group, going through the same experiences and facing the same challenges. Formal versus Informal Tactics. Formal tactics involve segregating newcomers from regular organizational members and providing them with formal learning experiences during the period of socialization. Sequential versus Random Tactics. The sequential tactic involves a fixed sequence of steps leading to the assumption of the role, compared with the random tactic in which there is an ambiguous or changing sequence. Fixed versus Variable Tactics. Fixed socialization consists of a timetable for the assumption of the role. Serial versus Disjunctive Tactics. The serial tactic refers to a process where newcomers are socialized by experienced members of the organization. Investiture versus Divestiture Tactics. Divestiture tactics refer to what is also known as debasement and hazing. Organizations put new members through a series of experiences that are designed to humble them and strip away some of their initial self-confidence. Institutionalized versus Individualized Socialization. The six socialization tactics can be grouped into two separate patterns of socialization. Institutionalized socialization consists of collective, formal, sequential, fixed, serial, and investiture tactics. Individualized socialization consists of individual, informal, random, variable, disjunctive, and divestiture tactics. Institutionalized socialization reflects a more structured program of socialization and reduces newcomers’ feelings of uncertainty. Individualized socialization reflects a relative absence of structure and so the early work experiences of newcomers are somewhat uncertain. The tactics can also been distinguished in terms of the context in which information is presented to new hires, the content provided to new hires, and the social aspects of socialization. Institutionalized socialization tactics are effective in promoting organizational loyalty, esprit de corps, and uniformity of behaviour among those being socialized. When socialization is individualized, new members are more likely to take on the particular characteristics and style of their socializers. Therefore, uniformity is less likely under individualized socialization. Research Evidence. Institutionalized socialization tactics have been found to be related to proximal outcomes, such as lower role ambiguity and conflict and more positive perceptions of P–J and P–O fit, as well as more distal outcomes, such as more positive job satisfaction and organizational commitment and lower stress and turnover. In addition, the institutionalized socialization tactics result in a more custodial role orientation in which new hi
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