Organizational socialization & work related attitudes in India's uncertainty culture.

AuthorRaina, Reeta


In recent times, the world has been witness to increased mobility of people especially the Millennials who keep switching jobs and even careers, with great frequency. In fact, job hopping has become the mantra for this Millennials who are ambitious, technology oriented, confident and risk takers, do not hesitate to explore new opportunities be it anywhere in the world. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average worker today stays at each of his or her job for 4.4 years, but the expected tenure of the workforce's youngest employee is about half that (Meister, 2012).Researchers observe that the Millennials as compared to previous generations think that job hopping can lead to greater job fulfillment. Sinha (2005) believes that many individuals, in order to earn quick money in a short span of time, change jobs. Therefore, today, management finds it intriguing how to hold on to its flock. These sentiments are echoed by others who feel that companies cannot hold on to people, especially of the frontline sales force, and believe that this trend will continue to rise as the market matures (Pathak & Triphathi, 2010).

As firms disperse their assets and operations across the globe their competitiveness becomes increasingly dependent on their ability to motivate a diverse labor force and the development of positive work-related attitudes in a multinational context (Gelade et al., 2008).The competitive edge for any organization is its 'people' and in today's dynamic times, managing people turnover is as critical as the business turnover. Many reasons are cited by researchers and corporates that trigger the exodus of the employees. A 2012 survey by Net Impact found that 88 percent of workers considered "positive culture" important or essential to their dream job, and 86 percent said the same for work they found "interesting." Thus, it is important to understand the factors that affect the work-related attitudes and behaviors such as organizational commitment, job satisfaction, organizational identification and intention to leave in different cultural contexts. Previous studies indicate that socialization efforts in organization are one of the important antecedents of these attitudes (Bauer et al., 2007; Ashforth & Saks, 1996).

Conceptual Framework

Organizational socialization, is defined as the process that facilitates an individual to learn the culture of the new organization, its beliefs, values, orientations, behaviors, skills and so forth-necessary to help them in adapting to the new setting and also help them in performing their new roles and functions effectively with in a new organization (Van Maanen & Schein, 1979). The socialization process is mostly based on the uncertainty reduction theory which posits that newcomers desire to increase the predictability of interactions between themselves and others within the new organization (Berger & Calabrese, 1975). Kim et al. (2005:235) recently stated that "the major reason firms use socialization tactics is to reduce some of the uncertainties of a new environment by providing information that guides employees' behaviors". Louis (1980) in his study found that there is growing disillusionment among new members of organizations leading to their early exits and turnovers which have been traced to inadequacies in approaches to organizational entry.

Institutionalized socialization tactics which strictly structured the socialization program, can affect a variety of constructs that reflect newcomer adjustment because broadening the knowledge of new hires about the work setting reduces the uncertainty and anxiety in the early stage of employment (Bauer et al, 2007; Ashforth & Saks, 1996; Jones, 1986).The relationship between organizational socialization and organizational commitment which is defined as a psychological link between the employee and his/ her organization that makes it less likely that the employee will voluntarily leave the organization (Allen & Meyer, 1996), has been examined in a number of previous studies. Jones (1986) found that the more institutionalized the form of socialization was, the greater was expressed organizational commitment. Allen & Meyer (1990) and Asforth & Saks (1996) tested the relationship in a longitudinal research and provide support to Jones (1986)'s findings.

Previous studies also showed that, institutionalized socialization tactics which help employees overcome their anxiety, confusion and concern about their roles related positively with their job satisfaction and negatively with their intention to quit (Jones, 1986; Ashforth & Saks, 1996). Ashforth & Saks (1996) also indicate that institutionalized socialization tactics also positively related with organizational identification which is quite different from the other attitudes defined as binding self-conception with the perceived identity of the organization (Asforth & Mael, 1989). It is known that conceptions of self are learned by interpreting the responses of others in situated social interactions (Asforth & Mael, 1989; Van Maanen & Schein, 1979). Also socialization may affect identification indirectly by helping internalization of values, beliefs and shared understandings (Asforth & Mael, 1989). Thus it may be expected that institutionalized socialization tactics which provide structured social interactions and internalization of organizational culture for newcomers may increase their organizational identification. Based on this body of work we hypothesis that:

H1 : Institutionalized socialization tactics will be positively related to (a) organizational affective commitment (b) organizational normative commitment, (c) job satisfaction, and (d) organizational identification and relatively related to (e) intention to quit.

Moderating Effect of Uncertainty Avoidance

A culture is shared values, assumptions and beliefs held by a group of members, which influence the attitudes and behavior of the group members. The present study uses House's (2007) GLOBE (Global Leadership and Organizational Behavior Effectiveness) study that built upon the findings of Hofstede (1980), Schwartz (1994), Smith & Peterson (1995), and Inglehart (1997) to understand the influence of national culture on norms, values, beliefs, and practices of the Indian employees. House's study identified nine dimensions that could influence business cultures. They include: (1) Power Distance, (2) Uncertainty Avoidance,(3) Humane Orientation, (4) Collectivism I (Institutional),(5) Collectivism II (In-Group),(6) Assertiveness, (7) Gender Egalitarianism,(8) Future Orientation, and (9) Performance Orientation (Hoppe, 2007).

In this study it is assumed that the impact of organizational socialization on work-related attitudes may differ among employees due to uncertainty avoidance culture. Uncertainty avoidance is defined as the extent to which a society, organization, or group relies on social norms, rules, and procedures to alleviate unpredictability of future events (House, 2007). The tendency to avoid uncertainty in organizations varies along with the tendency to avoid ambiguities in society at large, which is a major component of national culture. Hofstede conceptualized uncertainty avoidance with three components: rule orientation, employment stability and stress. People in such cultures look for structure in their organizations, institutions and relationships, which makes events clearly interpretable and predictable (Hofstede, 2001). Rules and rituals are the ways in which organizations reduce the internal uncertainty caused by the unpredictability of their members' and stakeholder's behavior. As Perrow (1972:29) mentioned, rules stem from past adjustments and seek to stabilize the present and future. Rituals also...

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