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Investigating organizational socialization: a fresh look at newcomer adjustment strategies

Helena Cooper‐Thomas (University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)
Neil Anderson (Brunel Business School, Brunel University, London, UK)
Melanie Cash (University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 1 January 2012




The majority of organizational newcomers have prior work experience. Organizational socialization tactics are less effective for such “experienced newcomers”, relative to graduate newcomers. Hence experienced newcomers tend to rely on their own actions to become socialized. The aim of this article is to assess and potentially extend the range of adjustment strategies identified as being used by experienced newcomers themselves to achieve positive adjustment.


Semi‐structured interviews were conducted with 86 experienced newcomers entering a professional services organization.


Nineteen strategies emerged, with seven newly identified in this research. These are compared with strategies found in past research.

Practical implications

HR, and the managers and colleagues of newcomers can use the strategies identified and categorized here to encourage newcomers to use organizationally‐appropriate behaviors. Newcomers can use these strategies to help themselves achieve their own adjustment goals.

Originality/ value

There is an increasing focus on newcomer proactive behavior in organizational socialization research, yet there are few empirically grounded developments of newcomer adjustment strategies. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first paper to focus on what experienced newcomers report doing to help themselves adjust.



Cooper‐Thomas, H., Anderson, N. and Cash, M. (2012), "Investigating organizational socialization: a fresh look at newcomer adjustment strategies", Personnel Review, Vol. 41 No. 1, pp. 41-55.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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