Job Satisfaction and Organizational Socialization, Dissertation – Literature Example


The importance of organizational socialization and job satisfaction is well recognized in the literature. Organizational socialization is the process by which a new employee becomes a part of their organization. This necessarily means induction into the organization’s culture, including informal mores and behaviors as well as formal ones. An employee’s success in the organizational socialization process will determine much of their success in the organization as a whole. The construct is similar to, but distinct from, job satisfaction, a construct that describes attitudes about one’s workplace. Job satisfaction is in some ways a more difficult construct to define, and it has even been suggested that it is a different construct from job dissatisfaction, as will be seen.

The following is divided into three main parts. Part I covers organizational socialization, highlighting the importance of organizational culture with all its informal and unwritten rules and codes of conduct as well as formal, written policies. The Organizational Socialization Inventory (OSI) instrument is also discussed. Part II covers job satisfaction, detailing the various theories that have been proposed, as well as highlighting the importance of factors such as fairness and equity for employees’ satisfaction. The Job Satisfaction Survey (JSS) instrument is also discussed. Finally, Part III analyzes the literature on both organizational socialization and job satisfaction in the context of higher education, highlighting the importance of mentorship for the former and perceptions of income for the latter.

Part I: Organizational Socialization

            Background: The process of organizational socialization is the means by which new employees are absorbed into the organizational culture of their new workplace, with all of its attendant norms, rules, and mores, and the requirements of their particular jobs (Larson, Lakin, & Bruininks, 1998, p. 32). For this reason, organizational socialization is of considerable importance in the business literature, and its study reveals much about how (and to what extent) employees absorb and internalize organizational norms, feel a sense of belonging with the organization and their coworkers, and are able to influence and actively participate in organizational culture in turn (p. 32). Although socialization may be accurately described as an ongoing process throughout the duration of one’s employment with an organization, the forms that it takes when an employee is first hired or starts a new position within the company are particularly intense, and therefore especially of interest (p. 32).

Importance: Organizational socialization is important because it pertains to how individuals overcome uncertainty in the process of joining a new group and adopting a new role (Saks & Gruman, 2012, p. 27). Of course, it also encapsulates how well that group receives new members, and how effectively it socializes them: thus, organizational socialization is a two-way street (p. 27). An individual at the very beginning of their organizational socialization has not yet learned how to behave, and still needs to learn what is expected of them. It is not only technical knowledge about the requirements of their job that they need, but also induction into the culture of the organization, with all of its written and unwritten codes of conduct and ways of behaving. Through socialization, the individual goes from the status of newcomer to the status of fully-fledged, more or less integrated member (p. 27).

Consequently, the first phase of organizational socialization is the entry phase, which involves the exchange of information before and during the hiring process (Deb, 2009, p. 211). During this phase, the individual makes use of available information to form ideas, opinions, and expectations about the job, and what it will be like to be a part of the organization’s culture (p. 211). All of this is before the individual actually begins work at the organization. Next is the encounter phase: this is the phase in which the individual is inducted into the organization, and given their first opportunity to see how it really functions (p. 211). Crucially, this gives them the opportunity to measure the organization as it actually is against their expectations. During this phase, the individual begins to learn what is expected of them in their new position: the requirements, the level of proficiency, adherence to formal and informal organizational norms, etc. (p. 211).

During the third and final phase according to this schematic, the individual undergoes metamorphosis: during this metamorphosis period, the individual adjusts to working in the new organization, and coworkers and superiors adjust to working with them (Deb, 2009, p. 212). Conflicts typically arise during this stage, and are (ideally) resolved in a satisfactory manner. The type of communication that is most important during this phase is informal communication: during the metamorphosis stage, the individual interacts with their coworkers and learns from them how to be a fully-fledged part of the organization (p. 212). This phase can often be quite complex, because it entails a great deal of interpersonal relations: as the newcomer becomes a part of the regular functioning of the organization, they will develop important ties with different coworkers, which will entail a fair bit of mutual exchange (p. 212).   

Effects: The effects of organizational socialization are easy enough to summarize in a cursory fashion: increased familiarity with the requirements and characteristics of “new roles and organizational cultures” (Harvey, Wheeler, Halbesleben, & Buckley, 2010, p. 173). Of course, there is much more to it than that, and what it means for an individual to become familiar with roles and with organizational culture is as variable as roles and as organizational cultures are themselves, respectively. For example, organizational socialization often happens due to vertical boundary crossings, i.e. promotions (or in some cases, demotions) (p. 178). Whenever an individual undergoes a vertical boundary crossing, they will experience the effects of organizational socialization due to their changed status within the organization. For example, promotions require individuals to be socialized into the expanded responsibilities and powers of their new roles (p. 178). The people with whom they interact may change to some degree, as well as the frequency with which they interact with different people: for example, former teammates may now be subordinates, and the individual may have much more access to senior management (p. 178). They may have to learn new skills and develop new capacities in order to be able to fulfill their duties (p. 178). Much the same is true in reverse for a demotion, though the individual may be returning to a previous job (p. 178).

Thus, the character of the organization and the job role will determine a great deal about the effects of organizational socialization. Horizontal boundary crossings are another, very different kind of change, and they tend to produce significantly different effects in terms of the processes of organizational socialization that are attendant upon them (Harvey et al., 2010, p. 178). Horizontal boundary crossings are reassignments, without promotion or demotion: the individual may be shifted to another position at the same level, reassigned to a different team (even a different location) while keeping their position, or something else (p. 178). Even if they keep their same job role, the individual who has crossed a horizontal boundary will have to adjust to the new team or location. And of course, if the individual has been assigned a different position, they will most likely have to learn and perfect a new skill set (p. 178).

The effects of organizational socialization can also be analyzed in terms of different dimensions, six of which were suggested by Chao, O’Leary-Kelly, Wolf, Klein, and Gardner (1994). The first is performance proficiency: successful organizational socialization entails the individual developing their performance to a high level of proficiency (p. 731). While motivation is very important to developing high proficiency in one’s performance, technical ability, or skill, is also essential: the individual must truly know how to do what they need to do (p. 731). Although different individuals learn in different ways, high proficiency may generally be thought of as a measure of how successful an organization is at socializing its employees, while taking into account differences in learning styles, etc. (p. 731).

People are the second of the six dimensions along which the effects of organizational socialization may be measured (Chao et al., 1994, p. 731). The development of successful working relationships is the measure of success here: if the new employee is able to work well with their coworkers and vice-versa, then organizational socialization has been successful (p. 731). Because people are very different and have distinct personalities, personal characteristics count for a lot here, and a person who fails to socialize successfully in one position may well excel in another (p. 731). Consequently, much of the success that can be realized in this arena is determined by the ability of management to find the right people to fill the right niches in the company, and move people around (hiring, reassignment, promotion, demotion, and termination) at need (p. 731). From this comes the third dimension: politics. Office politics are notorious, a byword for the more unsavory side of success in an organization, but the ability to negotiate them is a measure of successful organizational socialization (p. 732). Of course, office politics do not have to consist solely of the sort of gossip, back-biting, and favoritism popularly associated with them: they can also encompass conflict resolution strategies, and ideas about informal authority in an organization (p. 732).

The fourth dimension is language, particularly technical language and “knowledge of the acronyms, slang, and jargon that are unique to the organization” (Chao et al., 1994, p. 732). The practical value is relatively obvious: knowledge of the specialized terminology of the industry in general and the particular company especially is very important for an individual to be able to succeed, and as such well warrants the inclusion of language as an important dimension of organizational socialization (p. 732). However, this dimension arguably has a great deal of significance that goes beyond the merely practical, because knowledge of the language can often serve as a means of identifying oneself as an insider, one who participates in the organization’s culture (p. 732).

The fifth dimension is organizational goals and values (Chao et al., 1994, p. 732). This is one of the truest measures of insider status and participation in any organizational culture: the ability to identify with the goals and values of the organization (p. 732). However, this dimension is not confined to formal, written-down policies and procedures, but rather extends to informal values, mores, and goals that important members of the organization espouse (p. 732). Again, unspoken and informal values often have an impact that is comparable to, and perhaps in some cases even greater than, formal values and procedures (p. 732). From this comes the sixth and final dimension, history: organizations use “traditions, customs, myths, and rituals” to transmit organizational culture, making organizational history extremely important for effective socialization (p. 732). History, and the stories and value-laden narratives told about it, is just as valuable to organizations as it is to nations. Consequently, knowing this history can help the individual to understand how the organization sees itself, and what is important to it, providing the individual with further information about how to act (p. 732).

Cooper-Thomas and Anderson (2005) studied the effects of organizational socialization in two organizations, the British Army and ‘XYZ organization’, an anonymized “highly successful multi-national professional services firm originating in the U.S.A. that is concerned with improving client organizations’ business processes” (p. 119). They found that for the British Army recruits, one important effect was the increase of both job satisfaction and information acquisition over the course of the organizational socialization period, suggesting that these two factors are correlated (p. 121). This pattern became more evident over time: as the Army recruits acquired more and more knowledge, they generally became more satisfied with their jobs (p. 121). Intent to quit was low, but did increase over time, consistent with patterns across many organizations as new employees measure expectations against reality (p. 121). Significantly but not surprisingly, “job satisfaction was negatively correlated with intentions of leaving” (p. 121).

For XYZ organization, the pattern was relatively similar: the acquisition of information was an important aspect of organizational socialization, and evidence that increasing levels of information were correlated with more positive attitudes about the organization (Cooper-Thomas & Anderson, 2005, p. 121). Out of the overall sample of employees, job satisfaction was high but decreasing, and intentions of leaving were low but increasing, again a pattern that is consistent with the British Army findings, and the kinds of second thoughts that some employees have after a bit of experience with a new organization (p. 121). Of course, a key point of difference here is that the British Army recruits reported increasing job satisfaction overall, so job satisfaction increased with them while decreasing with recruits to XYZ organization (p. 121).

More recent research has confirmed that indeed, there does appear to be a considerable and significant link between organizational socialization and employee success, including rates of burnout, an extreme form of employee disaffection which entails emotional exhaustion and depersonalization. Liang and Hsieh (2008) hypothesized that organizational socialization was positively linked to feelings of personal accomplishment, and that the former would exercise a greater influence on the latter than other influences, like “work overload, role ambiguity, role conflict and social support” (pp. 201-202). They found that in fact, organizational socialization is negatively correlated with burnout, in terms of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization (p. 205). On the other hand, it is positively correlated with personal accomplishment (p. 205). They were even able to confirm that organizational socialization lends more to feelings of personal accomplishment than the other aforementioned factors do (p. 209).

            Tactics: Organizational socialization proceeds in a number of different fashions, and these tactics can be categorized accordingly. Socialization tactics can be collective, thereby socializing many newcomers at once, or individual, providing a newcomer with one-on-one orientation (Moreland & Levine, 2001, p. 70). Socialization may also be formal, consisting of official, company-approved programs designed to train employees, or informal, consisting of word of mouth, personal observations, and ‘unofficial’ training on the job (p. 70). Socialization may be sequential and fixed—usually a better idea—or random and variable (p. 70). Serial socialization is the practice of using experienced employees to train and orient them, while disjunctive tactics thrust newcomers into new roles and force them to learn as they go (p. 70). Socialization may also take the form of investiture, communicating to the newcomers that “they are already valuable to the organization”, or divestiture, which challenges newcomers “by suggesting that their value depends on completing the socialization process successfully” (p. 70).

Saeed, Mansor, Siddique, Anis-ul-Haq, and Ishaq (2012) studied the use of organizational socialization tactics and their effects on employees of telecommunications organizations, and found that the use of such tactics does indeed contribute to successful socialization (p. 98). Successful socialization tactics decreased “turnover intentions, role ambiguity, and conflict”, and increased job satisfaction (p. 98). They found that the tactics that worked generally facilitated newcomers’ learning, helped them to adapt to the challenges and responsibilities of their roles, and encouraged them to adopt the organization’s culture (p. 99). This highlights the importance of mentoring in order to transfer knowledge and promote socialization (p. 99).

Similarly, in a study of graduating MSW (Masters in Social Work) students, Jaskyte (2005) studied the impact of organizational socialization tactics on role ambiguity and role conflict for social workers and supervisors/managers. She found that investiture and informal tactics were among the tactics used for both groups; however, there was more of an emphasis on serial tactics with the social workers, and disjunctive tactics with the supervisors/managers (pp. 76-78). Jaskyte found that in fact, social workers scored lower in role ambiguity, but higher in role conflict, than supervisors and managers (p. 78). More precisely, those social workers in medical settings evinced lower levels of role ambiguity than their counterparts in “community/family and children service organizations”, though there was no difference in role conflict scores (p. 78).

Jaskyte’s (2005) other findings were similarly illuminating: investiture, random, and variable tactics all increased role ambiguity for supervisors and managers, which suggests the importance of maintaining institutionalized tactics (p. 78). The same appears to be true of role conflict, in that institutionalized tactics appear to be able to ameliorate it, while individual, investiture, and random tactics increase it (p. 78). The tactics that increased role ambiguity for social workers were informal, investiture, random, serial, and variable tactics (p. 78). For social workers, role conflict was associated with informal, investiture, serial, and variable tactics, which again attests to the importance of institutionalized tactics (pp. 78-81).

Clearly, then, there is much to be said for institutionalized tactics. However, research by Kim, Cable, and Kim (2005) suggests that employees’ own proactive behaviors also affect the degree to which institutionalized tactics facilitate a good person-organization (P-O) fit (p. 232). In other words, the idea is that employees’ own attitudes and behaviors are quite significant too, specifically in the way that they interact with institutionalized tactics in the process of organizational socialization, thereby either increasing or decreasing the efficacy of such tactics (p. 232). These authors hypothesized that proactive behaviors on the part of employees, notably positive framing or an attempt to put the best face on things, would work in concert with institutionalized tactics to enhance P-O fit, while employees who applied negative framing or putting the worst face on things would not experience such a fit (p. 234). Their results supported this hypothesis: the efficacy of institutionalized tactics is indeed enhanced when an employee uses positive framing to put the best face on things, thereby taking an optimistic view of their situation and the opportunities afforded them (p. 234).

Organizational Socialization Inventory (Instrument): First developed by Taormina (1994), the Organizational Socialization Inventory (OSI) is an instrument that has been extensively validated in the literature. The 20-item socialization scale covers four subscales: “training, understanding one’s job and organization, coworker support, and future prospects in the employing organization” (Taormina, 1997, ctd. in Chao, 2012, p. 602). The key difference between the OSI and previous instruments is in the way it treats the training dimension, “combining a specific socialization tactic, training programs, with job learning content” (p. 602). It also includes a dimension dedicated to future prospects, which is intended to capture employee attitudes and ideas about the kind of socialization they will require for future positions (p. 602). The OSI has a Cronbach alpha reported acceptable reliability level of 0.89 (Taormina, 2004). Taormina drew on the organizational literature in order to create the OSI, thus the emphases in each of the four subscales: training, for example, is designed to capture the efficacy with which a company goes about fostering employee preparedness; understanding measures employee comprehension of organizational functioning, as well as ability to use this knowledge productively ; co-worker support measures the quality of the working relationships between the employees, and future prospects measures employee expectations and ideas for the future with the organization (Taormina, 2004, p. 78).      

Part II: Job Satisfaction

            Background: Job satisfaction was once deemed too qualitative a construct for scientific study by behavior theorists (Dawis, 2004, p. 471). However, it made a comeback with cognitive theory in the 1950s, not only in basic psychology but also in applied psychology (p. 471). It was also in the 1950s that the conventional wisdom regarding the integral linkage between job satisfaction and employee performance was largely overturned when Brayfield and Crockett (1955) found little support for it, with a correlation of not much more than .10 (ctd. in Dawis, 2004, p. 471). Since then research and theory on job satisfaction has blossomed, generating a rich literature with many insights on this construct.   

            Importance: The history of job satisfaction theory demonstrates that it is more difficult to give an accounting of the importance of job satisfaction as a construct than might be expected. If job satisfaction is at best weakly correlated with employee performance as the Brayfield and Crockett (1955) findings indicate, it becomes imperative to ascertain what, precisely, is the importance of this construct. One controversial and now famous theory was proposed by Herzberg, Mausner, Petersen, and Capwell (1957), namely that job satisfaction differs from job dissatisfaction in terms of the causes of each (ctd. in Dawis, 2004, p. 471). Herzberg et al. held that job satisfaction was influenced by job content, or “motivator”, factors, while job dissatisfaction was influenced by job context, or “hygiene” factors (p. 471).

This is the Herzberg motivation-hygiene theory of job satisfaction, which also has ramifications for mental health: Herzberg himself proposed that mental health and mental illness are separate processes on much the same grounds as job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction (Miner, 2007, p. 47). In Herzberg’s theory, job satisfaction comes from five key factors, which are related both conceptually and empirically: feelings of achievement; verbal recognition of one’s efforts; the challenge of the work itself; the responsibility entrusted to one, and finally advancement through promotion (p. 48). If these things were present, Herzberg believed, they would stimulate job satisfaction through the construct of job enrichment: the job would come to have more value to the employee, who would then be the more satisfied with it (p. 48).

Job dissatisfaction, again, presents a different story altogether: in Herzberg’s theory, it comes from the “hygiene” factors of job context (Miner, 2007, p. 48). The first hygiene factor is company policy and administrative practices, very important for defining context; second, the quality of interpersonal relations, particularly with one’s supervisors; third, the physical state of the working conditions; fourth, job security; fifth, benefits, and sixth, salary (p. 48). When these factors are managed well, they will serve to prevent dissatisfaction; one might even think of them as a kind of protective ‘fence’ preventing employees from tumbling down the de-motivational cliff of low morale (p. 48). However, management of these factors is a responsibility that the organization will receive little thanks for, because employees will expect such management and be disgruntled and disaffected if their expectations are not met. Consequently, the organization must employ the positive motivational factors if it wishes to increase employees’ job satisfaction (p. 48).

Another theory of job satisfaction was articulated by Vroom (1964): the valence-instrumentality-expectancy (VIE) theory of work motivation (ctd. in Dawis, 2004, p. 472). Valence in this context refers to job satisfaction, which is determined by the valences of other factors, such as lifestyle, and the job’s efficacy or “instrumentality” in realizing expectations (p. 472). The importance of expectation to this theory cannot be overstated: for Vroom, expectation more than any other factor determined employees’ levels of job satisfaction (p. 472).

In the Job Diagnostic Survey developed by Hackman and Oldham (1974), five characteristics of a job form the dimensions along which job satisfaction can be measured: “skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy and job feedback” (ctd. in Frazier, 2005, p. 26). In the 1990s, newer research identified other determinants, including “distributive justice, supervisory support, the internal labor market, integration among coworkers, and pay” (p. 26). These determinants are all quite illuminating, because they suggest that job satisfaction depends on things such as job design and workplace practices, as well as factors such as pay. Of course, this invites a second look at the question of whether or not job satisfaction, measured in terms of employee morale, might have an impact on employee performance.


                        Intention to quit: In fact, over time the results of the Brayfield and Crockett (1955) study have been increasingly challenged, with new information indicating that morale may actually have a tighter correlation with employee performance after all (Bowles & Cooper, 2009, p. 85). In particular, a study by Lawler and colleagues (1998) of Fortune 1000 organizations highlighted the importance of capturing the dimension of time in such research: good practices designed to increase job satisfaction can produce improvements after a time lag, due to any number of factors related to the thoroughness of implementation, employees’ reactions, etc. (ctd. in Bowles & Cooper, 2009, p. 82). What the Lawler study found was that there is indeed a causal relation between good practices on the part of management, employees’ job satisfaction, and employees’ performance, and they were able to capture these associations over the course of eight years (pp. 82-83). In accordance with their predictions, they found that job security, which increased job satisfaction, was correlated with improved performance; in particular, employees’ satisfaction with pay was a quite significant predictor of employees’ performance (p. 83).

Perhaps most impressive was the Gallup Workplace Audit (GWA), a meta-analysis of an impressive “7,939 business units in 39 companies across many types of industry, involving almost 200,000 employee respondents,” and measuring such outcomes as “customer satisfaction, productivity, profit, employee turnover and accidents” (Bowles & Cooper, 2009, p. 84). The results were quite significant: the GWA found correlations between both employee satisfaction and business-unit performance (0.37) and employee engagement and business unit performance (0.38) (p. 84). The GWA also found that the metrics of employee satisfaction and morale that were most associated with composite performance were also the best predictors of reduced intentions to leave the organization (p. 84).

 Stress is often held to be a contributor to high turnover rates, and whether or not a particular employee can handle the stressors associated with their position is often taken as some indication of their intentions to either stay with the organization or seek employment elsewhere. In a study of nurses in Singapore, Lim and Yuen (1998) found that stresses caused by the demands of patients and their relatives, stresses caused by the demands of doctors, and perceived job image all affected job satisfaction and intention to quit (p. 278). Perceived job image captured nurses’ beliefs about public perceptions of their job: in other words, what they (the nurses) thought that other people thought about them, which could either be a source of stress or not depending on how well-respected the nurses believed their profession to be (p. 275). In particular, job satisfaction, commitment to the organization, tension due to the stressors of the job, and intention to quit were all correlated with demands from patients and their relatives, and perceived job image (p. 278).

In a study of high-turnover assisted living communities, Purk and Lindsay (2006) found that the factor that counted the most in determining employees’ intentions to quit was overall job satisfaction (p. 124). However, specific metrics, such as “pay, promotion, supervision, and people at work”, were not significantly correlated with intentions to quit, even though they did impact employees’ satisfaction: even employees that were dissatisfied with these factors were not more likely to quit as a result (p. 124). Of further interest, these authors did find that job commitment was correlated significantly with intention to quit: the more committed an employee was, the less likely they were to quit (p. 125).

The importance of the workplace’s ethical environment and employee trust in supervisors was highlighted in a study of salespeople by Mulki, Jaramillo, and Locander (2006). Mulki et al. hypothesized that there would be a relation between perceptions of ethical climate and trust in supervisors: in other words, if an employee perceives that the ethical climate of their organization is truly fair and just, then this should translate to greater levels of trust in their supervisors (p. 20). This should be associated with job satisfaction and organizational commitment: after all, presumably a more honest and transparent organization is more desirable to work for than one that is the reverse (p. 20). This should also translate to lower intentions of leaving (p. 21).

In fact, Mulki et al. (2006) found precisely this: employee perceptions of ethical climate in the organization are positively related to the levels of trust that they place in their supervisors, their job satisfaction, and their organizational commitment (p. 22). Job satisfaction also has a positive effect on organizational commitment, and both these factors coupled with trust in supervisors work together to decrease employees’ intentions of leaving the organization (p. 22). Consequently, the most important thing for management to do if they wish to reduce employee turnover rates is increase employees’ perceptions of the organizational environment as an ethical and fair one (p. 22).

Scott, Bishop, and Chen (2003) hypothesized that job satisfaction would be negatively correlated to employees’ intentions to quit, and identified a number of factors that they hypothesized would have a positive effect on job satisfaction (pp. 7-9). The first such factor was participation: employees’ ability to give input to the processes of the workplace, which in turn should positively affect employee perceptions of being connected to the group and its social being (p. 7). The two key ideas here are participation as belonging and inclusion on the one hand, and control on the other: after all, part of being a successful and actualized member of a group is the chance of having some control over what it does (p. 7).

Secondly, they hypothesized that perceived group support would be important: after all, merely being a member of the group is not enough if the group is not supportive of one (Scott et al., 2003, p. 7). Groups that lack much cohesion are likely to be lackluster at best, and may even be dysfunctional at worst. A cohesive, supportive group, on the other hand, ought to be able to reduce tensions in the workplace and help employees to feel that they belong (p. 7). Perceived task interdependence was the next factor proposed, and this follows quite logically from group support: the two factors together should make a powerful combination, especially because they facilitate cooperation (pp. 7-8). All of these factors together should facilitate increased job satisfaction, which should decrease employees’ intent to quit. And this is precisely what Scott et al. found: job satisfaction was positively correlated with the aforementioned factors, and negatively correlated with intentions to leave (p. 14).

                        Negative workplace behaviors: Negative and uncivil workplace behaviors exert a deleterious impact on the health of the organization as a whole: they diminish employee morale and workplace cohesiveness, and may include such serious concerns as bullying, harassment, and the like. In a study of workers in a variety of industries, Reio and Ghosh (2009) found that nearly 54% had engaged in uncivil interpersonal workplace behaviors at least once over the course of the preceding year (p. 248). Nearly 12% of the sample confessed to having engaged in such behaviors several times a year, and 3% confessed to having done so daily (p. 248). The commonest offences were hurtful speech, making fun of someone, or acting rudely (p. 248). About 46% of the participants confessed to uncivil organizational behaviors, i.e. taking longer breaks or “speaking about the company in unflattering terms”; 10% did so several times a year,s and 2%, every day (p. 248).

However, the findings of Reio and Ghosh (2009) also revealed a great deal about the predictors for such uncivil workplace behaviors. Workplace adaptation, for example, was a good predictor of someone being unlikely to engage in either interpersonal or organizational incivility (p. 252). This indicates that successfully socializing workers decreases the likelihood of them acting out (p. 252). Negative affect also predicted likelihood of someone engaging in organizational and/or interpersonal incivility; conversely, positive affect predicted that the individual would not (p. 252). Job satisfaction was also a good predictor of an individual’s tendency to not instigate incivility, either organizational or interpersonal (pp. 252-253).

Job satisfaction and organizational socialization both, then, do seem to do a great deal to promote good citizenship behaviors, both with regard to the organization in general and one’s coworkers in particular. Bowling (2010) studied the effects of both conscientiousness and job satisfaction on organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) and counterproductive work behaviors (CWBs). In accordance with his expectations, Bowling found that job satisfaction increases the likelihood that an individual will engage in OCBs, especially those pertaining to productivity and a willingness to take initiative, as well as a willingness to help others (p. 124). Job satisfaction also reduced individuals’ likelihood of engaging in CWBs, as did conscientiousness (p. 125).

Aggression is easily the most troublesome set of negative workplace behaviors. Aggression in the workplace, when it occurs, is a very serious problem for the wellbeing of the organization. In a meta-analysis, Herschcovis et al. (2007) studied both interpersonal aggression, i.e. aggression against another individual in the workplace, and aggression against the organization itself, i.e. “damaging equipment at work” (p. 228). They examined individual and situational predictors, seeking to understand the contributions of both types of predictors to interpersonal and organizational aggression (p. 229). Individual predictors pertain to individuals’ own personality traits, including predilections for anger, positive versus negative affect, alcohol abuse, etc. (p. 229). By comparison, situational factors are social and pertain to the organizational environment: perceptions of organizational injustice are actually a very good example of a situational factor that may serve to predict some forms of aggression in the workplace (p. 229).

Herschcovis et al. (2007) found that the two strongest predictors of interpersonal aggression were trait anger and interpersonal conflict (p. 232). For organizational aggression, the strongest predictors were “interpersonal conflict, situational constraints, and job dissatisfaction” (p. 232). Respondents’ sex and trait anger predicted interpersonal aggression more than organizational aggression (p. 232). Interpersonal conflict better predicted interpersonal aggression than it did organizational aggression, while job dissatisfaction and situational constraints were exactly the reverse (p. 232).

Of profound and foundational importance, Herschcovis et al. (2007) found that there were different predictors of interpersonal aggression targeted at supervisors and coworkers, respectively (p. 232). The best predictors of supervisor-directed interpersonal aggression were supervisors’ own poor leadership and interpersonal injustice (p. 232). This makes a great deal of sense, given that these are the kinds of behaviors that represent a breaking of trust on the part of management: after all, if management abuses their authority, they will leave workers disaffected and disenfranchised. Procedural injustice, similarly, was a better predictor of aggression targeted at supervisors than of aggression targeted at coworkers: again, a lack of fairness on the part of management is perceived as a serious grievance on the part of employees (p. 232). However, negative affectivity was not found to predict either kind of aggression, suggesting that employees’ own bad moods are not to blame for workplace aggression, at least not on their own (pp. 232-233). Finally, job dissatisfaction and situational constraints were found to be predictors of organizational, but not of interpersonal, aggression (p. 233).

            Job Satisfaction Survey (Instrument): The Job Satisfaction Survey (JSS) was created by Spector (1985) in order to measure levels of job satisfaction for employees in Human Service (Jex & Britt, 2008, p. 136). The JSS has a Cronbach alpha reported acceptable reliability level of 0.91. It is a thirty-six item instrument, one that monitors nine different aspects of the workplace environment and the job role: pay, promotion, supervision, benefits, contingent rewards, operating procedures, coworkers, nature of work, and communication (pp. 136-137). The JSS uses a summated rating scale format to derive the final job satisfaction score (Grigoroudis & Siskos, 2010, p. 78).

Organizational Socialization and Faculty Satisfaction Within Higher Education

            Previous Research: In a study of job satisfaction amongst faculty and staff at a number of universities in the Southeastern United States, Tang and Talpade (1999) analyzed differences in satisfaction along the faculty/staff dimension and according to respondents’ gender (p. 346). Faculty and staff showed no significant differences in job satisfaction, indicating that the faculty-staff distinction is not material where satisfaction is concerned (p. 346). However, there were differences by sex, even though the interaction between status and sex was not a significant one (p. 346). Satisfaction with pay and satisfaction with coworkers were the two key areas of difference: males tended to have greater satisfaction with pay than did females, while females tended to have higher satisfaction with coworkers than did males (pp. 346-347).

Overall job satisfaction “was significantly correlated with all aspects of job satisfaction”, specifically the work itself, pay, promotion, supervision, and coworkers, as well as overall life satisfaction (Tang & Talpade, 1999, p. 347). Overall life satisfaction was also a significant predictor of job satisfaction, satisfaction with supervision, and satisfaction with coworkers (p. 347). Men of higher status who were satisfied with their work and their promotions had the highest pay satisfaction (p. 347). These differences are interesting, in that they suggest an important breakdown in priorities and therefore in criteria for job satisfaction between males and females in higher education: where males are more likely to be happy with their level of pay, women are more likely to be happy with their coworkers (p. 347). These differences may speak to differing, sex-specific valuations of the needs of money versus people (p. 347).

Lawrence, Ott, and Bell (2012) examined predictors and influences pertaining to faculty citizenship and service behaviors, service being the oft-neglected third pillar of academic life alongside research and teaching (pp. 325-326). These authors wanted to ascertain whether organizational commitment (OC) might serve as a predictor of faculty willingness to engage in such service activities, the rationale being that identification with and commitment to an organization might increase faculty readiness to engage in citizenship behaviors on its behalf (p. 328). Organizational citizenship behaviors (OCB) may include such behaviors as “altruism, sportsmanship, courtesy, conscientiousness, and civic virtue” (p. 328). Faculty institutional service is particularly of interest in this regard, as a good example of civic virtue with respect to the organization that they serve, i.e. the university (p. 328).

What Lawrence et al. (2012) found was that respondents evinced a high level of organizational commitment (OC), though organizational citizenship behaviors (OCB) in the form of institutional service received the least amount of time out of all their duties (pp. 336-337). Faculty from the Arts and Humanities and from Business evinced greater likelihood of OC than their counterparts in Science and Mathematics fields (p. 337). A key finding was that the best predictor of institutional service was respondents’ own beliefs: respondents who personally believed in institutional service were likely to engage in it, especially if they believed that their university did as well, though they contributed service even if they did not believe this of their university (p. 339). However, when respondents did not believe in such service, they did not contribute, no matter their beliefs about their university’s priorities (p. 339).

In a study of university employees’ work characteristics and determinants of job satisfaction, Bos, Donders, Bouwman-Brouwer, & Van der Gulden (2009) found that firstly, higher age was associated with higher job satisfaction, which may attest to the importance of the cumulative effects of an established career on job satisfaction (p. 1253). Skill discretion was the biggest determinant of job satisfaction: skill discretion covered employees’ perceptions that they were given opportunities to take on new challenges and fully use knowledge and skills (pp. 1251, 1255). To a lesser degree, the quality of interactions with colleagues affected job satisfaction (p. 1255). For the 45-55-year-old age group, more autonomy was a significant determinant of job satisfaction, while for the most senior group “opportunities for further education and support from supervisor show a significant positive association” (p. 1255).

Pay satisfaction and tenure are both metrics that one would expect to be associated with job satisfaction for academic faculty (Tang & Tang, 2012, pp. 97-98). In a study of professors at a regional state university, these authors studied attitudes about money, specifically through the Love of Money (LOM) construct, and used tenure as a moderator (p. 100). They found that money was indeed quite significant: participants reported higher satisfaction with pay compared to others in their departments, as opposed to compared with the market in general (pp. 110-111). Satisfaction with benefits was higher than satisfaction with pay administration (p. 111). There was a significant relationship between income and satisfaction with pay (p. 111). Tenure proved a moderator, with significant effects (pp. 112-113). An especially interesting finding was that “income enhances the love of money”: consequently, even though business professors are some of the best-paid professors in academia, they tend to be less satisfied with their pay (p. 115). The reason for this may be that they are aware they could be working in industry or business, which would enable them to make even more (p. 115).

What, then, of socialization? Mendoza (2008) highlighted the importance of ‘sensemaking’: a highly cognitive process by which individuals become absorbed into the organizational culture around them through the use of cognitive scripts (p. 106). Organizational culture is important in this process because it writes the scripts, and even generates the ‘vocabulary’, so to speak, that governs them (p. 106). Through sensemaking, individuals come to understand the organization and their place in it, which enables them (hopefully) to have a positive conception of it (pp. 106-107).

In a study of this process for new faculty, Eddy and Gaston-Gayles (2008) found that their experiences touched on four key themes constituting concerns: first, a lack of the appropriate mentorship and preparation in graduate programs; secondly, a lack of adequate feedback and communications pertaining to expectations from their advisors, deans, and department chairs; third, “graduate students often lack a clear understanding about what it means to be a faculty member”, and fourth, they have concerns about quality of life (p. 93). In fact, a key distinction was that for some of these participants, socialization was made much easier because they were chosen by faculty members, who took them aside and taught them what they needed to know (p. 94). This points to the importance of mentorship. By contrast, others ‘self-selected’: they took it upon themselves to become faculty, and then sought out help (p. 94). Although these individuals did receive some guidance and mentorship, it was often not on the level of those that were chosen (p. 94).

Mentorship, then, is of foundational importance to socializing new faculty into the organizational culture of a university. This was precisely what Schrodt, Cawyer, and Sanders (2003) found in their study of new faculty members and their socialization: as with the above study, new faculty who felt that they were protégés of an experienced mentor reported higher levels of satisfaction with the whole process of academic socialization (p. 24). In particular, these individuals had much more of a sense of ownership pertaining to their departments, “felt more connected in their work environment than non-mentored faculty… and they reported receiving more adequate information about the research, service, and teaching expectations in their departments than non-mentored faculty” (p. 24). The support and encouragement of mentors was quite specifically tied to the success of these individuals’ organizational socialization, particularly their connection to the environment and their sense of ownership pertaining to their departments (p. 24).

Of course, becoming faculty is not the only time that faculty might need to undergo organizational socialization. Waters (2002) studied faculty socialization into the advising role, finding that the type of information that respondents received the most of was organizational information, specifically technical information (p. 20). However, faculty also received greater amounts of normative information than they did social, referent, or political information (p. 20). A key finding pertained to the types of information that respondents did and did not find useful: organizational information was ranked most useful, while appraisal information was ranked least useful (p. 20). In the main, faculty seemed to believe that the relative amounts of information they were receiving accorded with their own priorities. However, three of the participants (23% of the total) did express a desire for more organizational information (p. 20).

            Importance: It would be difficult indeed to deny the importance of job satisfaction (Heilman, 2007, p. 45). Faculty job satisfaction is certainly important from a humanitarian perspective: if a university cares about the wellbeing of its faculty, it should ensure that it is doing what it can to promote job satisfaction. Of course, there are also practical ramifications, because—as seen—there is now compelling evidence that job satisfaction does affect performance on the job. In particular, job satisfaction effects organizational citizenship behaviors and likelihood of aggression and other antisocial behaviors.

The importance of organizational socialization is just as obvious: if a university wants new faculty to be readily assimilated into its organizational culture, it should care about organizational socialization. Assimilation is important for efficacy: well-trained and productive faculty are not a resource to be squandered lightly. Indeed, it is a fundamental issue in higher education (Tierney, 2008, pp. 83-84).

            State of Higher Education: What, then, is the state of higher education? From the literature here presented, it is clear that more needs to be done more consistently to socialize new faculty into the organizational culture of the university. New faculty need to understand expectations, teaching strategies, and how faculty life is structured. The key point here is not that this is not already being done, but rather that it is only being done for some prospective faculty: those chosen as protégés by current faculty. These aspiring faculty are properly mentored and readily become a part of the organizational culture of academia. All new faculty should have the same opportunities.

            Conclusion:   Mentorship and support are of foundational importance for organizational socialization in higher academia, and successful organizational socialization, coupled with personal commitment to the organization, is a sound predictor of job satisfaction. When individuals are provided with the necessary training, mentorship and support that they require to become truly a part of organizational life, they have that much more of a head start towards developing strong job satisfaction as well. Organizational commitment and a strong sense of satisfaction in life are good predictors of individual citizenship behaviors in the organization, suggesting a deep link with the forces that enable successful socialization. Through this process of cultural adaptation, the individual achieves identification with the organization and its goals, enabling them to participate in its organizational culture.     


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