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The learning of socialization content: A framework for researching orientating practices

Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management

ISBN: 978-1-84855-004-9, eISBN: 978-1-84855-005-6

Publication date: 25 July 2008


This chapter briefly reviews findings from recent socialization research to provide an updated view of the socialization literature. To help advance the literature, this chapter then takes an instructional system approach, viewing socialization fundamentally as a process of learning about a new or changed role and the environment surrounding that role. As such, attention will first be given to further understanding exactly what needs to be learned during socialization. In doing so, an expanded socialization content typology is presented. In addition, two other components are added to this typology to reflect the fact that (a) each of those content dimensions needs to be learned relative to different organizational levels (e.g., job, work group, unit, organization) and (b) socialization occurs over several months and there are temporal considerations relating to the different socialization content dimensions. This chapter then examines how to best facilitate the learning of that expanded socialization content. The Gagné-Briggs theory of instruction is used in connecting socialization content with the means of learning that content. The socialization and orienting activities commonly used by organizations to help new employees in the adjustment process are also identified and then mapped onto the learning outcomes they could best help facilitate. Finally, the conceptual, measurement, and research needs suggested by these extensions to the socialization literature are identified.


Klein, H.J. and Heuser, A.E. (2008), "The learning of socialization content: A framework for researching orientating practices", Martocchio, J.J. (Ed.) Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management (Research in Personnel and Human Resources Management, Vol. 27), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 279-336.



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