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Breaking Them in or Eliciting Their Best? Reframing Socialization around Newcomers’ Authentic Self-expression

September 18, 2013 Comments off

Breaking Them in or Eliciting Their Best? Reframing Socialization around Newcomers’ Authentic Self-expression
Source: Administrative Science Quarterly

Socialization theory has focused on enculturating new employees such that they develop pride in their new organization and internalize its values. We draw on authenticity research to theorize that the initial stage of socialization leads to more effective employment relationships when it instead primarily encourages newcomers to express their personal identities. In a field experiment carried out in a large business process outsourcing company in India, we found that initial socialization focused on personal identity (emphasizing newcomers’ authentic best selves) led to greater customer satisfaction and employee retention after six months than socialization that focused on organizational identity (emphasizing the pride to be gained from organizational affiliation) or the organization’s traditional approach, which focused primarily on skills training. To confirm causation and explore the mechanisms underlying the effects, we replicated the results in a laboratory experiment in a U.S. university. We found that individuals working temporarily as part of a research team were more engaged and satisfied with their work, performed their tasks more effectively, and were less likely to quit when initial socialization focused on personal identity rather than on organizational identity or a control condition. In addition, authentic self-expression mediated these relationships. We call for a new direction in socialization theory that examines how both organizations and employees can benefit by emphasizing newcomers’ authentic best selves.

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Structure, Identity, and Solidarity: A Comparative Field Study of Generalized and Direct Exchange

June 9, 2012 Comments off

Here we propose an account of the link between exchange structure and the emergence of solidarity capable of accounting for the conflicting evidence social scientists have found regarding the relationship between social exchange structures and the emergence of intangible, affectively laden group sentiments. We argue that benefits received through exchange foster group identification and solidarity but that this effect is stronger in generalized exchange systems —in which giving and receiving of resources occurs unilaterally among three or more individuals—than direct exchange systems—which feature reciprocal transfers of resources between two people. At low levels of benefit to recipients, generalized and direct exchange systems will produce similarly low levels of group identification. At high levels of benefit, however, generalized exchange will result in relatively higher levels of identification. Higher levels of identification leads individual members in turn to view the group as higher in solidarity. We find support for this mediated moderation model in two survey-based case studies of organizations designed to facilitate these forms of exchange: one of Freecycle, a large-scale, online generalized exchange system, the other of Craigslist, a comparable direct exchange system. The results further suggest that generalized exchange is likely to emerge where a critical mass of exchange benefits creates positive sentiments toward the group, sentiments that help fuel further contributions in the exchange system.

Paying More to Get Less: The Effects of External Hiring versus Internal Mobility

May 20, 2012 Comments off

Paying More to Get Less: The Effects of External Hiring versus Internal Mobility
Source: Administrative Science Quarterly

Individuals often enter similar jobs via two different routes: internal mobility and external hiring. I examine how the differences between these routes affect subsequent outcomes in those jobs. Drawing on theories of specific skills and incomplete information, I propose that external hires will initially perform worse than workers entering the job from inside the firm and have higher exit rates, yet they will be paid more and have stronger observable indicators of ability as measured by experience and education. I use the same theories to argue that the exact nature of internal mobility (promotions, lateral transfers, or combined promotions and transfers) will also affect workers’ outcomes. Analyses of personnel data from the U.S. investment banking arm of a financial services company from 2003 to 2009 confirm strong effects on pay, performance, and mobility of how workers enter jobs. I find that workers promoted into jobs have significantly better performance for the first two years than workers hired into similar jobs and lower rates of voluntary and involuntary exit. Nonetheless, the external hires are initially paid around 18 percent more than the promoted workers and have higher levels of experience and education. The hires are also promoted faster. I further find that workers who are promoted and transferred at the same time have worse performance than other internal movers.

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