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Socializing Newcomers to an Organization February 20, 2007

Posted by Janine in Organizational Culture, Organizational Environment, Workplaces.

While reading chapter 7 of the book, I noticed another topic that I related to my personal life.   The topic relates to organizational culture and the tactics that organizations will take to socialize new members of its staff.  Well I am in my third year out of college, and in that time I have had three different jobs.  My first was in a cancer hospital in NYC, my second and third have been here at Bucknell.  As I was reading the section on “How an organization’s culture is transmitted to its member,” I got to thinking about these jobs and what kind of culture I have experienced in my jobs.  Some have been positive and encouraging, and some not so much.  Let me elaborate. My first year out I worked at Memorial Sloan Kettering cancer center, a very renowned cancer hospital. When I first started I can remember the process by which they taught the new staff the expectations, terminal and instrumental values, and hospital rules.  We went through a intensive 3 week training period in which various members of the existing staff would guide us in these areas, train us in the processes.  After having read this section, I see how MSKCC really incorporated tactics of opposing natures and combined them to effectively relay the hospital’s mission and expectations.  If you turn to page 183 of the book as reference, the hospital utilized the following tactics: collective(initally-then after time when we were stationed in our respective field, it became more individual), formal (again initially- then once stationed it became more informal), sequential, fixed, serial, and investiture.  I can elaborate more specifically in class perhaps.  The important thing I want to point out is how effectively they conveyed its mission and consequently influenced my role orientation to the organization.  I knew the values, I began to internalize them, and had a very positive experience while there.

That was my first year.  Onto my second.  Without going into specifics, everything about the steps this position took to acquaint myself with this new ‘organization’ were completely different than what I experienced at the hospital.  While this is not a bad thing exactly, it is if I could mention the nature of the job that I had.   As a novice, knowing nothing about the field I was in, my first year was a struggle.  The tactics that were used did not contribute to my understanding of the organization I was working for.  There was a struggle to adapt to the values that my boss wanted to see of me. I could not relate and adhere to the ‘norms’ as I had a hard time just figuring out what they were. The disjunctive and divestiture approaches, specifically, made work difficult.  I knew it was not something I could contiue to do.  I did learn how to complete my job, but the lack of guidance from the beginning left me far behind the others.  Regretfully, my best interest was to move on, and I did. 



1. Stephanie - February 25, 2007

I think the transmitting culture to new employees is very important, but since so many factors contribute to its success, success does not always come quickly, or at all. One factor I was thinking about is experience the new employee brings into the situation. I believe there are probably great differences if he or she is hired directly out of college verses having been in the work world for several years, or if he or she has had a job in the same industry compared to a very different industry. I believe that it is essential to research the company or organization and talk to current employees before committing to a job.

2. Stacey Swift - February 25, 2007

I would like to elaborate on part of Stephanie’s comment. I agree it is very important to get to know the other employees before committing to a job. Some of my friends interviewing for large financial firms in NYC get to go out to dinner and drinks with the employees when they go for their interviews. My friend who is 21 said they like to provide you with lots of free alcohol and see how you get along with the other employees. While I am not sure how I feel about the large presence of alcohol, I think it is a great opportunity to get to know you possible future collegues. If you don’t like the people you work with it can make your job more difficult, so i would like the opportunity to meet the group first.

3. Idetrorce - December 15, 2007

very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

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