Not just for newcomers: Organizational socialization, employee adjustment and experience, and growth in organization-based self-esteem

Donald G. Gardner, Guo-Hua (Emily) Huang, Jon L. Pierce, Xiongying (Peter) Niu, Cynthia Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

One of the more important responsibilities for HRD professionals is to help employees fit into the organization. This fitting in, or adjustment, to the organization includes the skills to perform one's job, understanding the relationships of one's role to the broader organization, and feeling accepted by one's peers. Onboarding, or more broadly, organizational socialization, is a proven practice that enhances employee adjustment through learning and development. Prior research reveals favorable relationships between organizational socialization (OS) practices and employee adjustment. Much less is known about which aspects of OS the HRD professional should focus on, why employees are motivated to use the knowledge gained from socialization to improve job performance, or whether relationships discovered in past research on newcomers can or should be generalized to more experienced employees. The current research is based on the multidomain, continuous model of OS. Consistent with that model, we found that effective socialization enhances employee organizational adjustment, which subsequently raises their organization-based self-esteem (OBSE), and that OS has stronger relationships with adjustment for less experienced employees than those with more experienced employees. Our results also reveal that adjustment mediated growth in OBSE that accompanied the ongoing process of OS, and that employees who perceived higher levels of socialization had greater increases in OBSE. We discuss the implications of our results for HRD professionals in designing OS programs, particularly as they relate to the targeted employees, and the framing of the communications.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Resource Development Quarterly
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Sep 2021

User-Defined Keywords

  • employee adjustment
  • onboarding
  • organization-based self-esteem
  • organizational socialization
  • role clarity
  • social acceptance
  • task mastery

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