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7 Strategies for Socialization in corporations

management, business, organization, corporate culture, organizational socialization, strategies of organizational socialization

1. Formal (or informal). This dimension measures the degree to which the setting where socialization takes place is segregated from ongoing work. The more formal the process, the more the recruit is segregated and differentiated. Informal socialization takes place in the course of the job.

2. Individual (or collective). The degree to which people are socialized individually or collectively is probably the most critical socialization variable. A group that is socialized together develops an "in the same boat" mentality.

3. Sequential (or nonsequential). Sequential strategies are based on a set of discrete steps through which a person must pass in order to obtain his role. Nonsequential strategies do not involve discrete steps; they could include one-time sessions or a more ad hoc approach to socialization.

4. Fixed (or variable). Fixed processes provide the recruit with precise knowledge about the time it will take him to complete a given step; variable processes do not. Since rate of progress is important in most organizations, people on variable schedules will try to figure out schedules using the flimsiest information.

5. Tournament (or contest). This is the practice of separating recruits into tracks on the basis of ability, ambition, and so on. Such tracking often occurs early in one's career, and shifts across tracks mainly occur downward—once off track, it is hard to get back on.

6. Serial (or disjunctive). The serial process is one in which old members of an organization, groom new members to take over. It is a process guaranteed to result in little organizational change. Disjunctive processes give room for innovation and creativity.

7. Investiture (or divestiture). Investiture ratifies and establishes the validity of the characteristics a person already possesses. Divestiture denies and strips away characteristics of the entering recruit.

An organization wanting to promote relatively high similarity in thought and action among recruits would combine formal, serial, and divestiture strategies. An organization desiring dissimilarity should use infor mal, disjunctive, and investiture strategies. Relatively passive, hardworking, and undifferentiated workers are produced through the combination of formal, collective, sequential, tournament, and divestiture strategies. At Mc-Donald's, socialization clearly is formal and collective (Hamburger University), sequential (the university's curriculum), serial (advice by Ray Kroc and other early leaders is handed down), and fixed (the, university's set time period).

The Japanese method of socialization puts heavy emphasis on a kind of master–apprentice relationship in which a junior worker (kohai) is linked with a senior worker (sempai). Unlike the traditional Western apprenticeship, though, this system emphasizes not the long-term mastery of tasks so much as the relationship itself whereby the mentor helps the protege learn the organizational ropes. The relationship between the two becomes a firm bond that is not violated by interpersonal competition, as may occur in the West. Rather, the fates of the two are inextricably linked, and thus the junior rises along with the successful senior and, similarly, fades when the mentor falls into disrepute.
Published: 2007-04-22
Author: Martin Hahn

About the author or the publisher
Martin Hahn PhD has received his education and degrees in Europe in organizational/industrial sociology. He grew up in South-East Asia and moved to Europe to get his tertiary education and gain experience in the fields of scientific research, radio journalism, and management consulting.

After living in Europe for 12 years, he moved to South-East again and has worked for the last 12 years as a management consultant, university lecturer, corporate trainer, and international school administrator

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