Organizational socialization

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Organizational socialization the lived experiences of four central office administrators
Smith, Raymond Lawrence
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xiv, 202 leaves : ; 28 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Elementary school principals ( lcsh )
School administrators ( lcsh )
Organizational sociology ( lcsh )
School districts ( lcsh )
Educational sociology ( lcsh )
Educational sociology ( fast )
Elementary school principals ( fast )
Organizational sociology ( fast )
School administrators ( fast )
School districts ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 177-202).
General Note:
School of Education and Human Development
Statement of Responsibility:
by Raymond Lawrence Smith.

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Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
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|Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
182722700 ( OCLC )
LD1193.E3 2007d S54 ( lcc )

Full Text
Raymond Lawrence Smith
B.A., University of Northern Colorado, 1971
M.A., University of Northern Colorado, 1978
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver and Health Sciences Center
in partial fulfilment
* <*
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
School of Education

2007 Raymond Lawrence Smith
All rights reserved.

This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
degree by
Raymond Lawrence Smith
has been approved
Connie-t. Pulpier
Rodney Muth
Ken Reiter
^>71 flu. 3 t Aoo'l
0 Date

Smith, Raymond, L. (Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Innovation)
Organizational Socialization: The Lived Experiences of Four Central Office
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Connie L. Fulmer
The purpose of this study was to provide a phenomenological description of
organizational socialization experiences of central office administrators responsible
for socializing new principals to their school districts. The research involved four
primary participants: central office administrators who were actively involved in
orchestrating the organizational socialization process for newly hired principals
within their respective school districts. The research also included one secondary
participant, me, a retired central office administrator in the bifurcated role of
researcher and participant observer in organizational socialization.
The research question that guides this study is, How do central office
administrators, responsible for conducting the organizational socialization processes
within their school districts, perceive and describe the phenomenon of socializing
newly hired principals into their respective school districts? Using Moustakass
phenomenological research model, invariant meaning units and essential themes were
drawn from the verbatim raw data in the construction of textural, structural and
composite textural/structural descriptions of the organizational socialization
experience. Five overarching themes emerged: (a) a conflicted role; (b) the knowing-

doing gap; (c) organizational selection is key; (d) networks/nodes, hubs, and
superhubs; and, (e) simultaneous loose-tight properties.
Three points became apparent in the research process: (a) the degree of
centrality is of importance in each participants descriptions of the phenomena; (b)
immediacy of reflection of the phenomena is essential to quality analysis; and, (c)
quality of analysis is driven by both depth of reflection and by the assistance of a co-
primary researcher who also provided critical support as a peer-debriefer. That is,
this person served to keep me honest and asking the hard questions about methods,
meanings, and interpretations so absolutely essential to my data verification efforts.
This study fills a gap in the organizational socialization literature in
educational administration, as it addressed the under explored phenomenon of the
meaning attributed to organizational socialization from the perspective of those
orchestrating those experiences for newly hired principals.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I recommend
its publication.
Connie L. Fulmer

I dedicate this thesis to my parents, who gave me an appreciation of learning and
taught me the value of perseverance and resolve. I also dedicate this to my wife, Julie,
for her love, unfaltering support, invaluable assistance as my co-primary researcher in
this endeavor, and understanding while I was completing this thesis. Finally, I
dedicate this thesis to my daughters Lindsay and Lauren in hopes that in some small
way my efforts to pursue this degree will inspire them to start a crusade in their life as
I have done in mine--to dare to be their best. I maintain that each of us is better, more
capable than we have demonstrated so far. The only reason we are not the person we
should be or could be is we dont dare to be. Once we dare to, once we stop drifting
with the crowd and face life courageously, life takes on a new significance. New
forces take shape within us. New powers harness themselves for our service to others.

My thanks to my advisor, Connie L. Fulmer, for her contribution and support
to my research. I also wish to thank all the members of my committee for their
invaluable participation and insights.
This research is the product of many hands and minds besides my own. I
eagerly anticipated long work sessions with my fellow graduate student, co-primary
researcher, and wife who is also completing her research at the time. We met
regularly to discuss our progress, exchange information, share opinions, and critique
early drafts of descriptions of peoples lived experiences.
My co-primary researcher and my research represented independent but
somewhat complementary studies (e.g., her study looked at organizational
socialization from the inductees perspective whereas my study looked at the same
phenomenon however from the perspective of those individuals orchestrating the
socialization experiences of newly hired principals) and were based on
phenomenological investigations conducted at the same time, in similar contexts.
Certainly, the assurance of the fit between the participants views of their
organizational socialization experiences and my reconstruction and representation of
the same would have been much less credible had it not been for the participation of
my co-researcher and per-reviewer. Moreover, she served to keep me honest and

asking the hard questions about methods, meanings, and interpretations of the
research. Additionally, given the fact that we both employed a phenomenological
methodology, several sections within our third chapter, in which we lay out our
research design, will be identical save for specific examples drawn from participants

Figures....................................................... xiii
Tables......................................................... xiv
1. INRODUCTION...................................................... 1
The Problem................................................ 5
Background to the Problem.................................. 7
Overview of Organizational Socialization................... 8
Purpose of the Study...................................... 11
Methodological Procedures................................. 12
Parameters of the Study................................... 14
Significance of the Study................................. 15
Organization of Dissertation.............................. 17
2. REVIEW OF LITERATURE............................................ 20
.Defining Organizational Socialization...... ...... ....... 20
Evolution of the Study of Organizational Socialization.... 21
Stage Models....................................... 23
Stage Model Research............................... 25
Socialization Tactics.............................. 28

Socialization Tactics Research........................ 30
Sensemaking........................................... 44
Proactive Socialization............................... 47
Contributions of Proactive Research.......................... 53
Gaps in the Socialization Literature......................... 54
Socialization Influences.............................. 55
Socialization Processes............................... 56
Socialization Outcomes................................ 58
Summary and Suggestions for Further Research................. 59
3. METHODOLOGY......................................................... 63
Research Question............................................ 63
Research Design.............................................. 64
Phenomenology................................................ 65
The Credibility of Phenomenological Research................. 67
Research Methodology......................................... 68
The Phenomenological Model............................ 69
Phenomenological Procedure............................ 69
Four Research-Steps................................... 73
The Research Participants.................................... 78

The Participant Selection Process
Contextual Setting and Situation............................. 79
Unit of Analysis....................................... 80
Verification of the Data..................................... 80
Credibility............................................ 80
Transferability........................................ 82
Dependability.......................................... 83
Confirmability......................................... 83
Phenomenology and Intersubjective Validity................... 84
Ethical Principles........................................... 86
Informed Consent....................................... 87
Security of Raw Data................................... 87
Plan for Rendering Data................................ 88
Summary...................................................... 89
4. RESULTS.............................................................. 91
Moustakass Phenomenological Process......................... 94
Epoche......................7........................ 95
Phenomenological Reduction............................. 95
Imaginative Variation................................. 102

Synthesis of Composite Textural and Structural
Description......................................... 107
Overarching Organizational Socialization Themes............ 110
The Findings and Discussion................................ 112
A Conflicted Role................................... 114
The Knowing-Doing Gap............................... 115
Organizational Selection Is Key..................... 118
Networks/Circle of Critical Friends................. 119
Simultaneous Loose-Tight Properties................. 121
Summary of Findings........ ............................... 123
5. SUMMARY, IMPLICATIONS, AND OUTCOMES............................... 125
Summary of the Study....................................... 125
Findings Integrated with Selected Literature and Research.. 128
Selected Literature and Research: A Conflicted Role. 129
Selected Literature and Research: The Knowing-Doing
Gap................................................. 131
Selected Literature and Research: Organizational
Socialization Is Key................................ 133
Selected Literature and Research: Networks/Nodes,
Hubs, and Superhubs................................. 134
Selected Literature and Research: Simultaneous
Loose-Tight Properties.............................. 136

Possible Future Research
Identification of Personal and Professional Outcomes........ 141
Personal Outcomes.................................... 141
Professional Outcomes................................ 144
Possible Considerations for School Districts................ 148
Closing Comments: Researchers Future Directions and Goals... 151
A. Modification of the Stevick-Keen Method of Analysis of
Phenomenological Data.............................................. 154
B. Personal Pre-judgments of the Researcher....................... 156
C. Winonas Invariant Horizons....................................... 159
D. The Invariant Meanings and Themes............................... 161
E. Nicks Textural Description....................................... 164
F. Composite Structural Themes and Statements........................ 166
G. Winonas Structural Description................................... 169
H. Outline Summary of the Phenomenological Model..................... 171
I. Organizational Socialization: interview........................... 174
REFRENCES................................................................. 177

1.1 Overview of Organizational Socialization.......................... 10
2.1 A General Model of Proactive Socialization........................ 54
3.1 Moustakass Phenomenological Procedural Steps..................... 69
3.2 McCrackens Four-Part Method of Inquiry........................... 74

2.1 Van Maanens and Scheins Tactical Dimensions......................... 30
2.2 JonesClassification and Definition of Socialization Tactics..... 32
2.3 Classification and Definition of Information Seeking Strategies.. 49
4.1 The Phenomenological Process.......................................... 93
4.2 Horizonalization: Excerpt of Marcias Interview....................... 97
4.3 An Example of Winonas Invariant Horizons............................. 98
4.4 Invariant Themes...................................................... 99
4.5 An Excerpt of Nicks Textural Description............................ 100
4.6 Composite Textural Description....................................... 101
4.7 Structural Themes.................................................... 103
4.8 An Excerpt of Winonas Structural Description........................ 104
4.9 Composite Structural Description..................................... 105
4.10 Synthesis of the Meanings and Essences of Organizational
Socialization....................................................... 108
4.11 Overarching Organizational Socialization Themes...................... Ill

Organizational socialization has been defined as a process by which
individuals learn the knowledge, skills, behaviors, values, and beliefs necessary to
function effectively as members of an organization (Feldman, 1981; Louis, 1980; Van
Maanen & Schein, 1979). Moreover, it is a joint process, involving the organizations
attempts to influence and control the behavior and attitudes of its employees, the
employees-, attempts to leam the ropes (Louis, 1980, p. 233), and at the same time
define their roles within the organization (Fisher, 1986). While socialization can be
conceptualized as a career-long process of learning (Van Maanen & Schein, 1979), as
individuals are continuously being re-socialized as changes occur in the job,
socialization experiences are most intense when one first joins an organization (Chao,
O'Leary-Kelly, Wolf, Klein, & Gardner, 1994).
The last decade has witnessed a resurgence of organizational socialization
research (Aiken, 2002; Beery, 2000; Cochran, 2001; Cooper-Thomas & Anderson,
2002; Delaware, 1996; Gorius, 1999; Jaskyte, 2005; Lubinescu, 2002; Morford, 2002;
Norton, 1995; Raschke, 2003; Star Soh, 2000; Weatherly, 1999). That is, recent
studies of organizational socialization have examined the organizations attempts to
influence its newcomers (Beery, 2000; Blass, 2003; Bottger, 2004; Cochran, 2001;

Cooper-Thomas & Anderson, 2002; Di Vito, 2003; Glynn, 2003; Jaskyte, 2005; Jesus
Bravo, Peiro, Rodgriquz, & Whitely, 2003; McEvoy, 2004; Morford, 2002; Schrodt,
Cawyer, & Sanders, 2003). One way in which the organization influences its
newcomers is through interactions with established organizational agents, or insiders,
who provide information (Cooper-Thomas & Anderson, 2002), feedback (Saks &
Ashforth, 1997), social support (Cochran, 2001; McEvoy, 2004), and/or mentoring
(Di Vito, 2003; Glynn, 2003; West, 2002). Another way is through the manner in
which the organization structures its socialization programs (Van Maanen & Schein,
1979). For example, newcomers who experience highly structured, formal
socialization programs report higher job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and
organizational identification (Bottger, 2004; Davalos, 1996; Jaskyte, 2005; Jesus
Bravo et al., 2003). What's more, they tend to focus upon the changes that occur in
him or herself as they enter the local organization (Aiken, 2002; Bishop & Elsberry,
1993; Delaware, 1996; Koru, 1989; Weatherly, 1999; Wong, 2002). Moreover,
newcomers do not fully explore the process through which these changes occur.
Socialization research has also examined the newcomers own attempts to
define ms or her role within the organization and to transform iron: newcomer to
insider. The newcomer may actively seek to hasten his or her transformation form
newcomer to insider by seeking information (Cooper-Thomas & Anderson, 2002),
socializing with co-workers, supervisors, and subordinates (Cochran, 2001; Jesus
Bravo et al., 2003; McEvoy, 2004), seeking out mentors (Di Vito, 2003; West, 2002),

and/or engaging in self-management (Black & Ashford, 1995; Saks & Ashforth,
Research on organizational socialization is important for several reasons. For
one, socialization is desirable from the employers perspective. It can have strong and
lasting impact on desirable work attitudes and behaviors (McEvoy, 2004; West,
2002), greater job satisfaction (Di Vito, 2003; Glynn, 2003), job performance (Blass,
2003; Jesus Bravo et al., 2003; Star Soh, 2000), and role innovation (Ashforth &
Saks, 1996; Norton, 1995), as well as lower turnover intentions (Bottger, 2004;
Cooper-Thomas & Anderson, 2002). If socialization is unsuccessful, it can also be
extremely costly for organizations. When unsuccessfully socialized employees leave,
organizations incur costs in terms of recruiting and training additional employees
(Burton & Shebani, 2004). When unsuccessfully socialized employees stay,
organizations incur costs in terms of withdrawal behaviors, such as lackluster
performance, tardiness, or absenteeism (Brooke & Price, 1989). Additionally,
socialization is the mechanism by which organizational culture is transmitted (Louis,
1990), and culture may contribute to an organizations competitive advantage
(Barney, 1986). Moreover, an organizations culture shapes much of what occurs
within the organization, including how individuals behave, what people pay attention
to, how they respond to different situations, and how they socialize new members and
exclude those who do not fit in (Spataro, 2005).

Socialization can also be desirable from the newcomers perspective.
Successful socialization can have a strong and lasting impact on desirable career
outcomes, such as income and promotions (Chao et al., 1994). Furthermore,
socialization is associated with reduced anxiety (Saks & Ashforth, 1997), fewer stress
symptoms (Jesus Bravo et al., 2003; Star Soh, 2000) reduced work/family conflict
(Zahrly & Tosi, 1989), and increased self-efficacy (Star Soh, 2000).
Past research has typically examined socialization from two perspectivesthe
organizations and the newcomers point of view. Studies that examined socialization
from the organizations point of view used both quantitative and qualitative
methodology to explore such qualities as the socialization context (Beery, 2000;
Blass, 2003; Bottger, 2004; Cochran, 2001; Jesus Bravo et al., 2003; Tuttle, 2003),
message content (Beery, 2000; Blass, 2003; Jesus Bravo et al., 2003), socialization
agent supportiveness (Di Vito, 2003; Glynn, 2003; Schrodt et al., 2003), and
organizational effort (Hager, 2003; Hurley, 1989; Jares, 2002). And, studies that
explored socialization from the individuals point of view, using both quantitative and
qualitative methodologies, focused on such qualities as newcomers descriptions of
* Liieir socialization experiences ( Aiken, 2002; Davalos, 1995; Luoinescu, 2002;
Morford, 2002; Rice, 2002; West, 2002), socialization outcomes ( Cooper-Thomas &
Anderson, 2002; Jaskyte, 2005; McEvoy, 2004; Raschke, 2003; Star Soh, 2000),
newcomers proactivity (De Vos, Buyens, & Schalk, 2005a; Elkins, 2005; Sturgis,
1997), and newcomers values congruence (McEvoy, 2004; Star Soh, 2000).

Therefore, while there is a growing body of socialization research, qualitative
studies, which seek to understand the socialization experiences of senior leaders
responsible for planning and implementing strategies that cause individuals to change
from outsiders to insiders (functioning members of the organization), remain an
under-explored phenomenon. Consequently, this study focuses on the organizational
socialization experiences or the lived experiences (van Manen, 1990) of four
central office administrators who helped newly hired principals learn the ropes
(Louis, 1980) within their respective school districts. That is, I want to understand
and be able to describe the meaning that participants attribute to their organizational
socialization experiencestheir thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, and assumptive
worlds (Marshall & Rossman, 1999; McCracken, 1988; Moustakas, 1994; Stanage,
The Problem
Writers of research methods books (Creswell, 1998; Denzin & Lincoln, 1994;
Marshall & Rossman, 1999) advance several needs for conducting scholarly research.
First, framing the intended research within the extant traditional and educational
administration sociaiizadoh literature led me to believe there was limited literature
available, which dealt with the induction of newly hired principals through the eyes of
the inductor. Second, based upon my own organizational socialization experiences, I
believe this study has the potential to influence the planned socialization experiences
school districts design and implement for new principals. Last, by exploring central

office administrators organizational socialization experiences in-depth, a much better
understanding and conceptualization of the organizational socialization needs of
central office leaders should emerge.
The problem related to organizational socialization is that while research
findings suggest that the success of new principals is largely dependent upon how
well they become socialized into the cultures and contexts of their role as principal
(Cline & Necochea, 2000; Hart, 1995; Leithwood, Jantzi, & Coffin, 1995), there
exists an equally impressive body of research that indicates that school districts are
not providing the socialization experiences principals need to successfully meet the
challenges of their role (Aiken, 2002; Aiken & Blake, 2000; Hall & Mani, 1989;
Jares, 2002; McCay, 2001; Morford, 2002; Weatherly, 1999). Further adding to this
troubling picture is the fact that the context of the job of principal is more challenging
now than at any time in the past (Ellison & Hayes, 2006; Marzano, Waters, &
McNulty, 2005; Portin, Schneider, DeArmond, & Gundlach, 2003; Portin, Shen, &
Williams, 1998; Waters, Marzano, & McNulty, 2003) and the role of principal has
evolved into a complex leadership position (Ellison & Hayes, 2006; Murphy et al.,
2000; National Policy Board for Educational Administration, 2002; Portin et al.,
2003; Sykes, King, & Patrick, 2002; The Maryland Task Force on the Principalship,
2000; Waters et al., 2003).

Background to the Problem
In recent years, much attention has been given to the state of public education
in the United States. The emotional tenor of various pronouncements in the popular
press, governmental reports, and federal regulations is one of crisis. The response to
this argued state of crisis has been a proliferation of proposals for reform. National
and state commissions and legislatures have proposed reforms such as adoption of
new professional standards for school leaders (Van Meter & Murphy, 1997), more
rigorous certification requirements for educational personnel (Hess, 2003), and
increased accountability of university-based leadership preparation programs, and
state departments of education (National Policy Board for Educational
Administration, 2002; Usdan, 2002; Van Meter & Murphy, 1997).
Additionally, the role and effectiveness of the principal has been the focus of
many educational reform efforts (Griffiths, Stout, & Forsyth, 1988; Murphy, 1992;
Murphy & Hallinger, 1987; Wilmore, 2002). A consistent conclusion of this research
and literature is that administrative leadership is critical to the success of reform
efforts (Boyer, 1983; Daresh, 2001; Educational Research Service, 2000; Hallinger &
Heck, i995; institute of Educational Leadership, 2000; National Policy Board rur '
Educational Administration, 2001; Public Agenda, 2001). While the challenges and
barriers that confront new school principals have been discussed in the literature
(Daresh, 2001; Leithwood, Jantzi, & Steinbach, 1999; Murphy, 1992; Parkay & Hall,
1992), more recent attention has been given to how principals actually become

inducted or socialized into their new roles and cultures (Aiken, 2002; Daresh, 1987;
1992; Gill, 1992; Gold, 1989; Hart, 1991; Heck, 1995; Louis, 1980; Van Maanen,
1976; Wanous, 1992).
This increased attention is due to the well documented fact that (a) the role of
principal is a complex and difficult job to carry out (Drake & Roe, 1986; Educational
Research Service, 2000; Institute of Educational Leadership, 2000; Public Agenda,
2001; U.S. Department of Education, 2000), (b) a shortage of qualified applicants
exists for vacant posts (Educational Research Service, 1998; Hough, 2000; Institute
of Educational Leadership, 2000; National Policy Board for Educational
Administration, 2001; Public Agenda, 2001; U.S. Department of Education, 2000),
(c) principal succession significantly affects the life of a school (Fauske & Ogawa,
1987; Hart, 1991; 1993; LeGore & Parker, 1997; Miskel & Cosgrove, 1985; Ogawa,
1991; Ogawa & Hart, 1985) and (d) school districts employ ineffective socialization
processes (Aiken & Blake, 2000; Daresh & Playko, 1992; Elsberry, 1994; Hart, 1991;
Hess, 2003; Restine, 1997). Ergo, the need for the effective organizational
socialization of new principals (Cline & Necochea, 2000; Greenfield, 1985; Hart,
1995; Leithwood et al., 1995; National Policy Board for Educational Administration,
Overview of Organizational Socialization
There is no widely accepted general model or framework of organizational
socialization, although a few have been suggested (Wanous, 1992; Wanous, Reichers,

& Malik, 1984). Therefore, for the purposes of this study, I provide a brief overview
(see Figure 1.1) of a general model of organizational socialization used within this
dissertation. The organizational socialization model can be broken down into three
basic components: (a) the process-learning from other people who are trying to
influence newcomers to adopt organizational norms and values, (b) the focus
learning specific and acceptable roles, norms, and values, and (c) the unique dynamic
of conflictthe socialization process occurs in an environment of conflict.
The process of learning in organizational socialization is referred to as social
learning (Wanous, 1992) because newcomers learn the ropes (Louis, 1980) from
key insiders by listening to them and by observing their behaviors. The key here is
that organizational socialization concerns interpersonal relationships,
alliances/networks (Aiken, 2002) at work (Cochran, 2001; McEvoy, 2004).
Consequently, the emphasis on social learning is essential to understanding how
newcomers become socialized.
The focus of learning refers to the new role to be adopted, the new group or
organizational norms (what to do), and the new organizational values (why you are
supposeu to behave in certain ways).
The unique dynamic of conflict is distinctive in setting socialization apart from
the other types of learning (e.g., skill training) that newcomers acquire after entry into
the organization. That is, despite organizational efforts to select compatible
(Wanous, 1980) and despite the effects of self-selection, there will always be conflicts

Figure 1.1 Overview of organizational socialization
between newcomer expectations/values and those of the organization. Conflict occurs
because it is the interface of people from different groups (e.g., the newcomer and
. . .. e
the boss), functional and departmental groups (e.g., the newcomer versus members
from other areas within the organization), and cultural groups (e.g., race, sex, age, and
nationality differences between newcomers and insiders, or among newcomers
themselves). Additionally, Schneider (1987) suggests that, the potential for conflict

increases as the number of differences between newcomers and insiders increases,
which is why organizations attempt to select individuals who are similar to those
already inside the organization.
Purpose of the Study
Theory development efforts concerning organizational socialization have
generally focused on one of three perspectives: (a) that of the individual, (b) that of
the organization, and (c) an interactionist perspective of them both. The first
perspective is characterized by a concern for the individuals experience of
socialization; it seeks to understand the individual process of adjustment during
socialization. The second, or organization perspective, is characterized by an
examination of the organizations role in the socialization process and the
organizational setting and tactics used. The third perspective attempts to balance the
individual and organizational perspectives. This interactionist perspective explores
the ways in which actions of the organization and actions of individuals influence the
socialization process and outcomes.
This study focuses on the second perspective, the organization as reflected in
the lived experiences (van Manen, 1990) of four, central office administrators who
were directly responsible for designing and implementing both the formal as well as
the informal socialization experiences for newly hired principals to their school
district. That is, I want to understand and describe the meaning that participants
attribute to their organizational socialization experiencestheir thoughts, feelings,

beliefs, values, and assumptive worlds (Marshall & Rossman, 1999; McCracken,
1988; Moustakas, 1994; Stanage, 1987). The purpose of this study is to advance the
literature on organizational socialization by gaining insights into the process of
implementing change in the professional practice of public school administrators as
well as human resource managers as they develop more effective strategies and
socialization programs.
Methodological Procedures
I believe that in order to understand what central office administrators are
experiencing as they orchestrate the organizational socialization process for newly
hired building principals, one needs to listen to find out how they are making sense of
the organizational socialization experience. In order to understand this experience
from the central office administrators own point of view, I selected a
phenomenological research approach. Such a methodology examines naturally
occurring human behavior and perceptions. Specifically, Moustakas (1994)
descriptive phenomenology research method was selected because it is extremely
useful for exploration (Krathwohl, 1998) as the inquiry attempts to gain entry into the
conceptual world of rcsearcu participants (Bogdan & Biklen, 1998) in order to
understand and to describe the meaning of their lived experiences (Creswell, 1998;
Moustakas, 1994; Stanage, 1987).
Next, because this is a phenomenological study which typically relies upon
the use of in-depth, extensive and multiple interviews with participants (Creswell,

1998; Marshall & Rossman, 1999; McCracken, 1988; Moustakas, 1994), I selected
sites, which were convenient for the researcher to contact central office administrators
who were easily accessible (Creswell, 1998).
Last, I scheduled and conducted two, two-hour semi-structured, one-on-one,
audio taped interviews, an essential necessity ... in accurately recording
information (Creswell, 1998), with each central office administrator in their office
(Bogdan & Biklen, 1998; Creswell, 1998; Marshall & Rossman, 1999; McCracken,
1988; Moustakas, 1994; Polkinghome, 1989). Based upon a review of literature, I
developed interview questions (McCracken, 1988). Following the interviews, I met
with a peer reviewer and exchanged field notes and/or interviews and observations
(Ely, Anzul, Friedman, Gardner, & Steinmetz, 1991; Erlandson, Harris, Skipper, &
Allen, 1993; Glesne & Peshkin, 1992; Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Merriam, 1988) in
order to provide an external check, a peer debriefing, of the research process
(Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Upon reviewing the data, an opportunity was offered to
some of the participants to participate in voluntary follow-up interviews. Voluntary
follow-up interviews were scheduled and conducted with individual participants in
order to expand upon the data, to follow up on interesting angles within the data,
and/or to clarify confusing data. The follow-up interviews took approximately one
hour. Permission to audiotape the follow-up interviews was obtained from the
participants. None of the participants declined the audio taping of the interview.
However, had the participants declined, I was prepared to take copious notes.

Parameters of the Study
The parameters of the study are encompassed only by my assumptions, and
not by limitations or delimitations, which would inhibit the very nature of the
phenomenological research methodology. Assumptions are necessary to provide
direction for the terms used, for the scope of the study, and for the potential audience
(Creswell, 1998; McCracken, 1988; Moustakas, 1994).
Phenomenological methodology necessitates that I state my assumptions
regarding the phenomenon under investigation (refer to Appendix A), that I suspend
or bracket these preconceptions in order to understand fully the reflections of the four
participants, and that I not impose an a priori hypothesis on the experience (Creswell,
1998; McCracken, 1988; Moustakas, 1994).
By adopting the phenomenological approach and Moustakas (1994)
modification of the Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen method of analysis of phenomenological
data, the following assumptions were made:
1. The processes of Epoche, Phenomenological Reduction, Imaginative
Variation, and synthesis of meanings and essences (Moustakas, 1994)
provided an1 appropriate procedure for analysis and organization of the study'
(Creswell, 1998; McCracken, 1988; Moustakas, 1994).
2. It was assumed that the long interview (McCracken, 1988; Moustakas, 1994)
approach is appropriate for this study.

3. Individuals can verbalize their interpretations and the processes that they use
to generate them (Porac, Thomas, & Baden-Fuller, 1989).
4. It was assumed that organizational socialization data obtained from the audio
taped, verbatim raw data are valid.
5. It was assumed that insights into the nature of organizational socialization
might be attained by directly soliciting the organizational socialization
experiences of participants.
Significance of the Study
This study is important because it portrays the phenomenona of socialization
as perceived by central office leaders charged with the responsibility of supporting
newly hired principals to the organization. By exploring their organizational
socialization experiences in-depth, a much better understanding and conceptualization
of the organizational socialization needs of central office leaders emerged. What
kinds of strategies are being employed by central office leaders in an attempt to help
newly hired principals become competent in their job? What might be some of the
constraints to providing the organizational socialization experiences newly hired
principals require in order to be successful? Therefore; the significance of this study
is that, by describing the socialization experiences of central office leaders, we
advance the body of knowledge in organizational socialization.
Besides advancing the body of knowledge in organization socialization, this
research has practical implications for human resource management and organization

development. By understanding the potential or limitations of different socialization
agents and processes to effect beliefs, values and attitude change, human resource
managers will be better informed in investing resources between selection, orientation
and training, and in developing strategies and effective socialization programs.
Similarly, this study is important for organization development practitioners who are
in the business of enhancing organizational effectiveness through greater individual
learning, innovation, and teamwork. Such organization development efforts
inevitably involve changing individual perceptual and cognitive systems at work,
which are built on beliefs and values based on old organizational assumptions and
values. Hence, successful organization development efforts necessitate leaders to
evolve the organizational culture (Schein, 1997) and work with socialization agents
and mechanisms to bring about lasting attitude and behavioral change in the
Therefore, the grand tour (McCracken, 1988; Spradley, 1979) research
question that guides this study focuses on how central office administrators perceive
and describe the phenomenon of socializing newly hired principals into their
respective'school districts. Organizational socialization (Louis, 1930; ocneiri, 1968;
Van Maanen & Schein, 1979; Wanous et al., 1984) is perceived differently by
different people, and differently by the same person in different situations. Even so,
my work searches for specific structures of consciousness in selected individuals
(Polkinghorne, 1989) related to the phenomenon of choreographing organizational

socialization in their everyday lived experience. My efforts focus on finding both the
outward appearance and inward consciousness, based on memory, image, and
meaning (Creswell, 1998) of the essence, invariant structure, or central underlying
meaning of organizational socialization by a school district of newly hired principals.
Freeman (1980) described this process as investigating the inner contours of
consciousness (p. 114).
Organization of Dissertation
In Chapter 1,1 present an Introduction, which includes the context, a
statement of The Problem, my purpose, and my research question along with the
issues I extracted from the review of literature, which formed the basis of the
Background to the Problem. Identifying the anticipated contribution to the profession
through Significance of the Study provided research relevance. The procedure, tool, or
technique, the long interview (McCracken, 1988) I used to generate and analyze
data, specifically the phenomenological method (Creswell, 1998; Moustakas, 1994;
Spiegelberg, 1965; 1982; Stanage, 1987) were described under Methodological
Procedures. The Parameters of the Study are identified through specific Assumptions
used within this study.
Chapter 2 contains a review of literature. In this chapter, I describe and
analyze the contributions of research on organizational socialization especially as it
relates to the role of central office administrators and the direction I take in this
research project.

In Chapter 3,1 present the research question and address the methods and
procedures relevant to the phenomenological model (Moustakas, 1994) as the
methodological foundation of this study. The methodological approach addresses data
collection, data analysis, and synthesis of data, horizonalization and meaning units. It
addresses cluster themes and textural and structural descriptions.
In Chapter 4,1 present the results or findings from the applied
phenomenological methodologies (Bogdan & Biklen, 1998; Creswell, 1998;
McCracken, 1988; Moustakas, 1994) in a series of Tables and Figures. Additionally, I
introduce a number of vignettes, verbatim statements from my participants, as a way
to provide a vivid portrayal of the conduct of an event of everyday life, in which the
sights and sounds of what was being said and done are described in the natural
sequence of their occurrence in real time (Erickson, 1986, p. 149-150).
Finally, in Chapter 5,1 present my conclusions. That is, I revisit my original
question and explain what the findings mean in terms of the original problem. The
chapter begins with a recap of the whole project: where I started and where I have
ended up. The chapter proceeds to an interpretation of my findings, both theoretically
as well as a practically. And, concludes with a discussion oi the implications for
future research and a summary. That is, I characterize where my study ends, and
perhaps where others should go, based on my work.

Chapter 2 presents a review of the socialization literature. First, socialization
is defined within an organizational context. Second, key phases in the evolution of the
socialization literature are reviewed and critiqued. Third, gaps in the literature are
identified. Finally, the implications of the review and critique are discussed as they
pertain to the model introduced in Chapter 1.
Defining Organizational Socialization
Organizational socialization is the process by which individuals learn the
knowledge, skills, behaviors, social values, beliefs, and so forth necessary to
function effectively as members of an organization (Feldman, 1981; Louis, 1980; Van
Maanen & Schein, 1979). While this social learning is a lifelong process, it is most
acute when an individual moves into a new social status, role, or position. When
entering new situations, individuals must learn the taken-for-granted information
upon which members of the new social environment rely in their routine interactions.
Socialization is a cognitive process involving the learning of discrete bodies of
knowledge, and an affective relationship involving the internalization of specific
norms. Van Maanen and Schein (1979) argue that, since ... socialization necessarily

involves the transmission of information and values, it is fundamentally a cultural
matter (p. 210).
As a cultural phenomenon, socialization depends upon social interaction for
the transmission of specific values, beliefs, and attitudes. It involves the acquisition of
tacit knowledge and the taken-for-ranted reality by which the members of a specific
culture or subculture conduct their daily lives. A straightforward example of this
cultural information is the friendly connotation of a handshake in most Western
societies. However, to individuals from many Eastern cultures, such a gesture is
meaningless or worse yet offensive. It is critical, therefore, that a newcomer quickly
obtain situation or setting specific information that is either taken for granted among
more experienced members or insiders (Louis, 1980), and/or which is transmitted
through formal alliances, access to which is afforded only trusted members of the
cultural group.
The status of newcomer (Bakke, 1953) is, on one hand, a routine social
experience. In modem society, organizational membership is a commonly shared
trait. At a minimum, members of most organizations share a common pattern of
experiences. However, each organization constitutes a distinct cultural setting
complete with unique value, attitude, and belief systems. Each organization has a
distinctive history, mission, and procedures and reflects the individual biographies of
its members. Understanding and appreciating the distinctive features of the
organization of which they become a member is a task of the newcomer.

Evolution of the Study of Organizational Socialization
Socialization research has evolved from the very early perspectives of group
formation (Simmel, 1895), development of social character (Giddings, 1897),
molding feelings and desires (Ross, 1896), development into a group and learning
acceptable group behavior (Ogbum & Nimkoff, 1940), and acquiring knowledge,
skills, and dispositions (Merton, 1957), or the newcomer as a passive recipient of
socializing forces, to the perspective of the newcomer as an active participant in his
or her own socialization process (Ashforth & Saks, 1996; De Vos et al., 2005a;
Jablin, 1984; Morrison, 1995; Teboul, 1995). As the organizational socialization
literature is followed from its early roots in the 1930s to its current form, it
progressively comes to portray the newcomer as an active participant in the
socialization process. Research can be traced through four stages: (a) descriptions of
what occurs during socialization, (b) the newcomer as a passive recipient of
socializing forces, (c) the newcomer as one who cognitively reacts to the socializing
forces; and (d) the newcomer as a behavioral force in his or her own socialization.
In brief, research prior to 1930 viewed organizational socialization as group
formation (Sirnmei, i895), character development (Giddings, 1897), and suaping'
emotions and wishes (Ross, 1896). Research from the 1930s concerned individual
development into a group and learning acceptable group behavior (Ogbum &
Nimkoff, 1940). Merton (1957) added to the discussion by suggesting that
organizational socialization was about obtaining the skills and nature or character to

be effective. Organizational socialization research from the 1970s was predominantly
descriptive, describing the stages newcomers go through as they make the transition
from outsider to insider (e.g., Feldman, 1976; Porter, Lawler, & Hackman, 1975). In
the 1980s, researchers began to search for factors affecting the socialization process
as they recognized that all newcomers do not become equally socialized, The search
began by looking for socializing forces, or contextual factors, that affect how
successfully an organization socializes its newcomers. The individuals role remained
passive; the assumption was that all individuals experience and react to socializing
forces in a similar manner (Van Maanen & Schein, 1979). A separate stream of
research from the early 1980s considered the role of the individual in socialization.
However, the individuals role was purely a cognitive sensemaking one (Louis,
1980). That is, researchers recognized that individuals cognitively experience and
react to socializing forces differently depending on individual attributes (Jones, 1983;
Louis, 1980).
Only within the last 15 years have researchers viewed the individuals role in
socialization as behaviorally active. Researchers now recognize that individuals differ
in how proactive they are in bringing about their own socialization (Aiken, 2002;
Elkins, 2005; Ostroff & Kozlowski, 1992; Raschke, 2003). The following review is
organized around the key domains associated with each stage in the evolution of the
literature: (a) stage models (descriptive); (b) tactics (passive); (c) sensemaking
(cognitively active); and, (d) proactive socialization (behaviorally active).

Stage Models
The earliest research into organizational socialization simply described the
experiences of newcomers as they entered an organization (Wanous & Colella, 1989).
A variety of newcomers were studied, including army recruits (Bourne, 1976), AT&T
managers (Bray, Campbell, & Grant, 1974), Harvard MBAs (Cohen, 1973), and
police recruits (Van Maanen, 1976). This descriptive research paved the way for a
number of stage models.
Stage models portray socialization into organizations in terms of a sequence
of stages through which newcomers typically pass in their transition from naive
newcomer to socialized insider. A number of models have been proposed (Buchanan,
1974; Feldman, 1976; Jablin, 1982; Porter et al., 1975; Schein, 1978; Van Maanen,
1976; Wanous, 1980). Though the labels vary, researchers generally agree on three
stages: (a) anticipatory socialization, (b) encounter, and (c) adaptation.
Anticipatory socialization. The first stage of socialization, alternatively
referred to as anticipatory socialization (Van Maanen, 1976), getting in
(Feldman, 1976), or pre-arrival (Porter et al., 1975), refers to all the learning that
prepares'an individual for organizational entry (Van Maanen, 197 0). Luring thisstage
recruits, while still outsiders, anticipate their experiences in the organization they are
about to enter. Researchers suggest that this pre-entry stage may serve the dual
functions of aiding the subjects rise into that group and of easing his adjustment after
he has become part of the group. However, not all researchers agree that an

individuals experiences during this stage are positive. That is, Becker, Geer, Hughes,
and Strauss (1961) have argued that the influence of the anticipatory socialization
experiences of medical students are limited to fantasy and play at being doctors and
that they never mistake their fantasy for the fact, for they know that until they have
graduated and are licensed they will not be allowed to act as doctors (p. 420). Louis
(1980), while discussing a variety of different types of socialization tactics (including
pre-entry training), suggested that the in-advance practices are far less effective in
facilitating a newcomers adaptation to the organization than are socialization
practices, which are in-response to the actual induction experiences of the
newcomer. And Norton (1995) in his study of six beginning principals revealed that
principals interactions with students, faculty, and the Central Office were sometimes
strong and often negative.
Encounter. The second stage of socialization, alternatively referred to as
encounter (Porter et al., 1975), accommodation (Feldman, 1976), or breaking
in (Feldman, 1976), refers to the early organizational period, where tasks are learned
and relationships are formed (Feldman, 1976). Organizational reality must be
accepted, as expectations formed during the lirst'stage are either confirmed or
disconfirmed (Buchanan, 1974; Porter et al., 1975; Schein, 1978). Experiences during
this stage are critical in shaping the individuals adjustment to the organization
(Fisher, 1986; Louis, 1980).

Adaptation. The third stage of socialization, alternatively referred to as
adaptation (Louis, 1980), settling in (Feldman, 1976), mutual acceptance
(Schein, 1978), change and acquisition (Porter et al., 1975), or metamorphosis
(Jablin, 1982), signals the completion of the transformation from newcomer to insider
(Louis, 1980). This is less of a stage and more of a state of being socialized, of
understanding how things really work (Fisher, 1986; Schein, 1978) or learning the
ropes (Louis, 1980; Morford, 2002).
Stage Model Research
Few attempts have been made to empirically test stage models of
socialization. Buchanan (1974) identified three stages of socialization, classified
according to tenure (1 year; 2-4; 5 or more), using a cross-sectional study of new
managers from five governmental agencies and three large manufacturing companies.
Fie predicted that commitment at each stage would be a function of a unique set of
experiences. For example, the realization of ones expectations and the attitudes of
ones work group towards the organization were hypothesized to predict commitment
at stage one but not at stages two or three. However, contrary to the model, work
gioiip attitudes predicted commitment at stages one,two, and tluee, and realization of
expectations predicted stage three commitment, but not stage one commitment
(Buchanan, 1974).
Feldman (1976) identified three stages of socialization: (a) anticipatory
socialization, (b) accommodation, and (c) role management. He also identified critical

processes specific to each stage, such as realism during stage one, role definition
during stage two, and resolution of conflicting demands during stage three. Only
stage three processes should be related to socialization outcomes, such as job
satisfaction and involvement. This model has been tested twice. Feldman (1976)
studied hospital employees using a cross-sectional design. Contrary to the model, he
found that the strongest relationship between process and outcome variables was the
relationship between congruence, a stage one process, and job satisfaction, a stage
three outcome (Feldman, 1976). Dubinksy, Howell, Ingram, and Bellenger (1986)
tested the model on sales personnel using structural equation modeling, but the model
did not achieve adequate levels of fit. When alternative models were tested, stage one
processes such as congruence and stage two processes such as initiation to the group
were strongly related to outcomes, even though Feldmans (1976) model only
predicts a relationship between stage three processes and outcomes. Thus, while the
processes Buchanan (1974) and Feldman (1976) identified may be important for
socialization, there is little evidence of the existence of clear stages of socialization
with separate and distinct processes.
Though not specifically tests of a stage model, research by Graen, Orris, and
Johnson (1973), as well as by Mannon (1991) does provide some support for distinct
stages of socialization within an organization. During the first 16 weeks on the job,
clerical employees decreased assimilation behaviors (e.g., going to others for help,
learning the amount of work required) and increased behavior aimed at dealing with

conflict (Graen et al., 1973). This is consistent with Feldmans (1976) model, in
which conflict resolution occurs in the settling in or role management stage.
Mannons (1991) qualitative study of six novice principals suggests that socialization
is a staged process, that the novices anticipated expectations of work were different
from actual daily work tasks, that memorable events signified the passage from
outsider to insider status, and that the novices learned their role by experiential
Stage model theory and research has been reviewed three times (Fisher, 1986;
Wanous, 1992; Wanous & Colella, 1989). Together, these reviews conclude that the
available evidence is weak in terms of support for distinct, sequential stages which
are the same in terms o order, content, and duration for all people in all jobs in all
organizations (Fisher, 1986; Wanous & Colella, 1989). Of course, the lack of
longitudinal tests of these sequential models limits the ability to draw firm
While stage models may not describe the complete range of socialization
experiences, they have made some important contributions to the socialization
literature. First, the models recognize that organizational entry changes people.
People learn from and adjust to the organization. Thus, insiders are different than
outsiders and newcomers. Second, the stage models recognize that learning is most
intense immediately following entry (Fisher, 1986). Third, the models recognize that
newcomers must master various tasks (e.g., learn new behaviors, form new

relationships), resolve various conflicts (e.g., with expectations, needs, values, and so
forth), and build networks and alliances (e.g., cultivate relationships, develop
friendships, employ skills of negotiation) in order to adjust to the organization and
lead change (Aiken, 2002). In summary, the stage models provide a useful heuristic
for understanding what separates less socialized from more socialized individuals
and the kinds of tasks accomplished during socialization.
Socialization Tactics
Stage models help us understand what occurs during organizational
socialization and what characterizes socialized individuals. However, stage models do
not identify individual or contextual influences on socialization outcomes.
Researchers began the search for predictors of socialization by examining
organizational or contextual influences on socialization, while the individual
remained a passive recipient of various socializing forces. Initially, researchers
looked at the way organizations structure the socialization process.
Whether consciously selected or merely as the result of deeply held, taken-for-
granted beliefs and traditions, socialization processes involve utilization of specific
tactics (Aiken, 2002; Beery, 2000; Delaware, 1996; Gorius, 1999; Hart, 1991;
1995; Hurley, 1989; LaPreze, 1997; Van Maanen & Schein, 1979). Van Maanen and
Schein (1979) suggest that:
The phrase tactics of organizational socialization refers to the ways
in which the experiences of individuals in transition from one role to
another are structured for them by others in the organization. Whether

the tactics used are selected by design or accident, they are at least
theoretically subject to rapid and complete change in the direction of
the management of an organization. In other words, the relative use of
a particular tactic upon persons crossing given organizational
boundaries can be, by and large, a choice made by organizational
decision-makers on functional, economic, technical, humanistic,
expedient, traditional, or perhaps purely arbitrary grounds, (pp 230-
Within broad and general limits, organizations have an almost limitless
number of options available regarding the choice and combination of strategies and
tactics by which to break in newcomers. Some of the more common tactics include
selective recruitment, sponsorship and apprenticeship schemes, evaluation and
feedback strategies, selective communication, transfer and promotion practices,
monitoring, the use of sanctions, and pre-service and in-service training. Aiken
(2002) has demonstrated how the utilization of a variety of different strategies, taken
collectively, effectively socialize principals to their roles, and, more importantly,
allowed them to move from custodial positions, maintaining the status quo, to those
of innovative leaders who could embark on change and feel confident they could
manage the complexity and chaos that went with it. Hartzell (1991) has suggested that
during the encounter phase of induction, there are a number of tactics available to an
organization to induce new members to change. Among these are, the organization
may confirm and reinforce the new members behavior by providing rewards; the
organization may punish the recruit by withholding rewards or providing negative
reinforcement; or the organization may do nothing.

Socialization Tactics Research
Perhaps the most extensive discussion of organizational socialization tactics
has been provided by Van Maanen and Schein (1979). In addition to describing a
wide variety of specific tactics, Van Maanen and Schein suggest an analytical scheme
that characterizes the structural features of organizational socialization that they had
observed. While emphasizing that they believe there are an infinite number of
tactics, they identified six tactical dimensions, which include significant and
recurrent tactics identified in a widely diversified sample of organizations (see Table
2.1). They further qualify their descriptive model by suggesting that even though they
have presented various tactics as being logically independent of each others, the
actual impact of organizational socialization upon a recruit is a cumulative one, the
result of combination of socialization tactics, which perhaps enhance and reinforce or
conflict and neutralize each other (p. 253).
Table 2.1 Van Maanens and Scheins Tactical Dimensions
Institutionalized Individualized
1 Collective Individual
2 Formal Informal
3 Sequential Random
4 Fixed Variable
5 Serial Disjunctive
6 Investiture Divestiture

For example, the collective/individual dimension of organizational
socialization refers to the tactics, which either process recmits singly and in isolation
from one another or tactics, which process them as a group through a relatively
common set of experiences. Whereas the formal/informal dimension refers to the
degree to which recruits are segregated from regular organizational members and
processed through a set of experiences tailored explicitly for newcomers. Programs
that require the recruit to go through a training period within the employing
organization (e.g., military boot camps) are examples of formal tactics. The
informal mode refers to tactics which are not formally structured (e.g., as training)
and refer to tactics, which leave the recruit to learn as they go in the sink or swim
Jones (1986) was the first to note that the six tactics (Van Maanen & Schein,
1979) could be grouped different ways as shown in Table 2.2. First the tactics could
be conceptualized as representing a single underlying dimension or continuum. The
ends of the continuum differentiate two basic forms of socialization, institutionalized
and individualized. Institutionalized socialization encompasses collective, formal,
sequential, fixed, serial, and investiture tactics (Jones, 1986). With institutional
tactics, newcomers are formally socialized as a group, provided role models, and
given clear information about the sequence and timing of events in the socialization
process. Individualized socialization encompasses individual, informal, random,
variable, disjunctive, and divestiture tactics (Jones, 1986). That is, with individualized

tactics, newcomers are socialized informally and individually, with no role models,
and are given few clues about the sequence and timing of events in the socialization
Table 2.2 Jones Classification and Definition of Socialization Tactics
CONTEXT Collective Individual
Structure of Processes newcomers as a group, Processes newcomers individually,
initial putting them through a common putting each one through a more or
socialization set of experiences. less unique set of experiences.
Formal Segregates newcomers from the organization for an initial training period. Informal No special effort to differentiate or separate the newcomer from more experienced members.
CONTENT Sequential Random
Communication Specified sequence of discrete and Sequence of steps leading to target
of sequence and timing of events identifiable steps leading to target role. roles not identified or communicated.
in the
socialization Fixed Variable
process. Clear timetable adhered to by the organization and communicated to the newcomer. Recruit has few clues as to when to expect a given boundary passage.
SOCIAL Serial Disjunctive
ASPECTS Availability of social support in Role models are available to inform newcomers as to how to proceed in the new role. No role models are available.
adjusting to the
ne w rc!c. Investiture Seeks to build upon the newcomers values and attitudes. Divestiture Seeks to tear down and completely reorient the newcomers values and attitudes.
In addition to categorizing the tactics along the institutionalized-
individualized continuum, Jones (1986) recognized that the tactics could also be

grouped into three dimensions, as primarily concerned with either the context,
content, or social aspects of socialization. The context dimension, encompassing the
collective and formal tactics, concerns the structure of the initial socialization
program. Collective and formal tactics represent a highly structured approach to
socializing newcomers, while individual and informal tactics represent an absence of
structure. The content dimension, encompassing the sequential and fixed tactics,
concerns whether the sequence and timing of events in the socialization process are
clearly communicated to the newcomer. Sequential and fixed tactics represent clear
communication, while random and variable tactics represent an absence of
communication. Finally, the social aspects dimension, encompassing the serial and
investiture tactics, concerns the availability of social support for newcomers. Serial
and investiture tactics represent the presence of social support, in terms of the
presence of role models and organizational support for newcomers values, while
disjunctive and divestiture tactics represent the absence of such support.
Regardless of the specific socialization tactic or combination of tactics chosen
by organizational decision-makers and regardless of the basis for such decisions
(conscious or unconscious), there appears 10 be general agreement in the literature
that the people processing techniques chosen have definite outcomes for both the
organization and the individual; the newcomer (Allen & Meyer, 1990; Baker &
Feldman, 1990; Black & Ashford, 1995; Feldman & Weitz, 1990; Jones, 1986; King
& Sethi, 1992; Laker & Steffy, 1995; Mignerey, Rubin, & Gorden, 1995; Saks &

Ashforth, 1997). Van Maanen and Schein (1979) goes so far as to suggest that the
characteristics of the socialization setting are far more crucial to the eventual
outcomes of the process than are the specific occupational attributes to be included
(p. 67).
The more general outcomes of socialization processes for both organizations
and individuals have already been discussed. However, researchers have suggested
that particular outcomes can be directly attributed to the selection and utilization of
specific tactics or combination of tactics (Aiken, 2002; Beery, 2000; Delaware, 1996;
Gorius, 1999; Hart, 1995; Hartzell, 1991; LaPreze, 1997; Louis, 1980; Morford,
2002; Norton, 1995; Raschke, 2003; Schein, 1997; Van Maanen & Schein, 1979).
Louis (1980) and later, Heck (1995), suggest that while attention has been devoted to
an examination of the use of specific tactics and their relationship to the phenomenon
of turnover, the use of specific tactics can also be seen to influence job performance
and satisfaction of employees not selected out of the organization. Morford (2002),
for example, found from her phenomenological study of new rural high school
princioals that, contextual variables (e.g., small rural school culture, insider/outsider
status) arid formalized socialization processes were influential in informing
principals decisions about when to conform and when to challenge existing norms in
their schools. In support of these findings, Aiken (2002), believes that school districts
must provide new principals opportunities to build seamless professional learning
opportunities so they can make sense of their organizations and their roles in them.

She further states that, we must become more deliberate in helping leaders acquire
the maps that will help them facilitate their own transformation into the very systems
and structures that are expected to change (p. 39).
In his early work on the topic, Schein (1968) characterized three typical
responses to socialization. In the first instance, rebellion, the newcomer rejects all
organizational demands and leaves voluntarily or involuntarily. A second model
response is creative individualism and involves a newcomer accepting the pivotal
demands (task-related) but rejecting most relevant and peripheral role behaviors
(those desirable but not absolutely necessary and/or behaviors seen as dysfunctional
to the organization). In the third response mode, the newcomer accepts all role
demands (pivotal, relevant, and peripheral). Schein terms this last response
Van Maanen and Schein (1979), and subsequently, Schein (1990), further
developed this scheme by proposing that, aside from an individual leaving an
organization, three categories of individual responses to socialization processes are
desirable. The first response is for the newcomer to assume a custodial or caretaker
stance toward knowledge, soalegies, and missions associated with the role. The
second response is referred to as content innovation and is marked by the
development of substantive improvements or changes in the knowledge base or
strategic practices of a particular role. The third response is role innovative in that a

genuine attempt is made by a role holder to redefine the ends to which the role
Van Maanen and Schein (1979), in their discussion of the tactical dimensions
of socialization processes, propose that particular tactics can be directly related to one
of these categories of response. They argue that,
Regardless of the manner of choice, any given tactic represents a
distinguishable set of events, which influence the individual in
transition and which may make innovative responses from that
individual more likely than custodial (or visa versa). It is possible,
therefore, to denote the various tactics used by organizations and then
to explore the differential results of their own use upon the people to
whom they are directed, (p. 230)
The end, to which socialization tactics are utilized, particularly regarding the
issues of social order and control, has been the topic of many students of
organization. In general, those who have traditionally focused on the phenomenon of
organizational life have been management apologists and sociologists. Perhaps
because of the focused perspective, which these researchers brought to the study of
organizations and the intellectual tradition of logical positivism, which predominated
muc.' .^search, mainstream organizational theory has been limited to dentification
of the formal aspects of organization.
Formal aspects refers to perspectives, which attempt to explain social
behavior in organizations according to readily identifiable features of organizations
including rules, regulations, structures (hierarchies/division of labor), technology, and

environment (here referring to the availability of resources or markets). Reference to
informal influences often deal with the motives and/or values of individual workers
and were regarded as essentially illegitimate when compared to the formal goals of
the organization. Discussion of informal factors tended to center on methods and
strategies for controlling irrational motives (the human relations school).
Recently, the informal dimension of organizational life has been expanded to
focus on the social relations of organizational culture. For example, Holcomb (1990)
identified proficiencies most essential for success but least supported by orientation
and in-service training; human relations, building rapport with teachers, students, and
parents; building esprit de corps, cohesiveness, and climate; communication skills;
active listening; delegating, decision-making, task analysis; and time management.
Cochran (2001), found that those socialization tactics concerned mainly with the
social aspects of newcomer (principal) adjustment were most influential in
moderating levels of role conflict and role ambiguity. In her study of 132 high school
principals, McEvoy (2004) provides further support by concluding that principal
commitment to their districts is reinforced and supported primarily by the
relationships that principals have witn their colleagues.
When adopting a social relations perspective on organizations, the analysis
must focus on the actions, motives, and intentions of all organizational members. In
such a context, individuals are regarded as occupying particular statuses or roles, as

having differing motives, attachments and values, as not having equal access to
organizational resources nor benefiting equally from these resources.
Any analysis of organizational behavior, then, must necessarily concern the
identification of the various statuses, which individuals occupy in an organization and
the strategies and tactics utilized to maintain and enhance the prerogatives associated
with holding such positions. As Eiger (1975) has commented,
The analysis of organizational relationship must attend to the ways in
which actors protect or develop their positions within the enterprise.
This requires consideration of, on the one hand, those overt strategies,
involving explicit reference to some version of the organizational goal,
by which members may defend or advance their interests in
organizational bargaining; and on the other those less explicit
maneuvers which are also important in defining the position of the
members, but which avoid reference to the jurisdiction of
organizational mandates. The patterning of bargaining strategies can
be considered in terms of the resources and alliances available to the
various organizational members, (p. 101)
In this context, the issues of organizational regeneration, coordination and
control involve processes by which senior organizational members attempt to
influence newcomers to see the world as their more experienced counterparts do and
accept the values, attitudes, and beliefs of those members as V-ir own. New
members are induced to accept the normative system, a core of values, motives, and
proper attitudes, characteristic of the particular organization of which they are
members. Put another way, Wanous (1992) claims that organizations regularly
employ socialization tactics (e.g., conferring of status, system rewards, benefits, etc.),

which create a sense of obligation for newcomers and in a sense seduce them to make
commitments, feel obligated, to the organization.
Moreover, senior organizational members either consciously or unconsciously
seduce newcomers to accept the status quo by a variety of members. By their
positions in the organization and their formal authority to control and allocate
organizational resources, they exert influence on newcomers and subordinates
through a variety of formal control mechanisms. Many of these strategies and tactics
have already been discussed. However, the use of these formal controls depends upon
the degree to which the individual regards them as both legitimate and significant. If
an individual believes that something is real, it is real in its consequences. A key
factor, then, in an individuals perception of the validity and legitimacy of particular
organizational practices is the individuals acceptance of the normative system, which
provides the raison detre for the utilization of such practices.
As seen from the perspective of the individual, socialization processes have a
number of consequences. Morford (2002) suggests that, for the newcomer to function
within the organization and fulfill the specific role assigned s/he must acquire
knowledge and infonixaiion regarding expectations surround the role. The concept of
role is here regarded as the often-diverse behaviors that have come to be more or less
associated with a particular position in the organization. Roles encompass a specific
set of tasks routinely required for the fulfillment of particular roles and an
appreciation of the environment in which those tasks are performed (Louis, 1980).

Roles are created, sustained and transmitted in terms of expectations of behavior and
attitude and include both content and process characteristics; that is, one must not
only recognize the formal aspects of what they are to do, but also the less formal
expectations regarding how they are to do it. This may also include information
indicating that the new role occupant must not do.
The phenomenon of membership in a specific organization and the role one is
assigned in the organization has substantial impact on an individuals sense of self
(Jones, 1986; Star Soh, 2000; Weiss, 1977) and plays a role in newcomer
socialization. Hart (1991), suggests that an organization delineates officially
appropriate standards of welfare, joint values, incentives, and penalties.
Consequently, these conceptions expand a mere participation contract into a
definition of the participants nature of social being (Moore, 1969).
The degree of congruence between the organizational expectations regarding
an individuals behavior as conveyed in the socialization process and the individuals
perception of self would appear to be critical (McEvoy, 2004; Prince, 2001; Star Soh,
2000). In instances of close congruence, socialization experiences appear normal
and, in fact, function to reinforce prior held images of self. However, in instances
where a great disparity exists, socialization experiences could be extremely stressful
involving mortifications of the individuals sense of self. A common theme in
much of the socialization literature is the loss of idealism, a constraining force
(Norton, 1995), which occurs as the result of socialization processes.

Schein (1997) has likened the plight of the newcomer to a form of culture
shock in which the individual experiences surprises. Consequently, the task of the
newcomer is one of sense-making (Louis, 1980; Weatherly, 1999; Weick, 1995).
Entry is characterized by change, contrast, and surprise, all of which require cognitive
adjustment by the newcomer. Change is an objective difference in a major feature
between the new and old settings (Louis, 1980, p. 235). Contrasts represent
subjective differences between new and old by which newcomers characterize and
otherwise define the new situation (Louis, 1980, p. 236). Surprise represents a
difference between an individuals anticipations and subsequent experiences (Louis,
1980, p. 236). It is at this juncture in the socialization process that the individual is
most vulnerable and, therefore, most susceptible to the influences of the organization.
A newcomers vulnerability comes from both the psychological impact arising from
the contrast, changes, and surprises presented by the new setting, the experience of
reality as compared to expectations and the need for information.
First, insiders normally know what to expect in and of the situation. For the
most part, little is surprising or needs to be made sense of. Second, when surprises do
arise (e.g., not getting an expected raise), the insider usually has sufficient history in
the setting to interpret them more accurately or to make sense based on relevant
knowledge of the immediate situation. An insider probably knows, for instance,
whether the denied raise is due to company-wide budget cuts or is related to the job
performance and whether it is an indication of how the future may unfold or a

temporary situation. Third, when surprises arise and sensemaking is necessary, the
insider usually has other insiders with whom to compare perceptions and
interpretations (Louis, 1980).
Socialization tactics research has made important contributions to our
understanding of the socialization process. The evidence clearly supports Van
Maanen and Scheins (1979) underlying proposition that the organization,
consciously or unconsciously, can influence the adjustment and role orientation of its
newcomers by the manner in which it structures their socialization experiences.
However, there are still several issues to be resolved and research questions to
be addressed in this area. First, there appears to be a trade-off between role innovation
and performance, achieved through more individualized socialization programs, and
satisfaction, commitment, and identification, achieved through more institutionalized
socialization programs. Yet, this trade-off may be illusionary (Ashforth & Saks, 1996;
Black & Ashford, 1995). Ultimately the influence of a socialization program is
affected by its content and the predispositions of its audience as well as its structure.
Black (1992) found that the collective tactic led to role innovation in his sample of
expatriates, which he concluded was due to the predispositions of expatriates and/or
the content of the material to be delivered collectively. Similarly, Elkins (2005) found
that institutionalized socialization was shown to have directly and indirectly the most
positive effect on graduate teaching assistants level of ambiguity and conflict

resolution. Research needs to examine the specific content transmitted during
socialization as well as the structure of socialization programs.
Second, while research is fairly conclusive in showing that tactics do
influence many aspects of newcomer adjustment to the organization, it does not
explain how or why specific tactics act as they do. Research has only recently started
to examine possible mediators and moderators of the relationship between tactics and
outcomes, and to examine the relationship between tactics and proactive behaviors
(e.g., Aiken, 2002; Cochran, 2001; Jesus Bravo et al., 2003; Morford, 2002). Further
research is needed.
Third, even though Jones (1986) self-report scale has served to greatly
advance research, its construct validity is still an issue. Many of the subscales tend to
have low inter-item reliabilities, and some of the items represent potential construct
overlap between program structure and support received as a result of the structure.
For example, Bottger (2004) found that he could not replicate the scales developed by
Jones (1986) to measure the context variables of socialization tactics used with new
public service employees. Ashforth and Saks (1996) developed a new investiture
measure which addressed potential weaknesses in Jones (1986) original items.
However, more work is needed.
Finally, the structure of the socialization program does not encompass many
of the possible organizational or situational influences on socialization. Researchers
need to examine additional contextual influences on socialization, such as reemitment

practices (McEvoy, 2004), organizational complexity (Louis, 1990), supervisor self-
efficacy (LaPreze, 1997), or work environments (Morford, 2002).
Tactics research helps to explain situational variability in socialization
outcomes, but it does not address why newcomers to the same job in the organization
may not become equally socialized. To understand this, researchers needed to
examine the role of the individual newcomer in socialization. Early research into the
individuals role in socialization focused on the ways in which [newcomers]
internally process their experiences as newcomers (Louis, 1980, p. 235). It focused
on cognitive coping, or reaction, to the new setting, and to the individual differences
which might affect his sensemaking.
Weick (1995) outlined seven properties, which describe the activity of sense-
making itself. The sense-making process is sequential: it is grounded in identity
construction, retrospective, enactive of sensible environments, social, ongoing,
focused on and by extracted cues, and driven by plausibility rather than accuracy
(Weick, 1995, p. 18).
Sensemaking is grounded in identity construction; tnat is, no individual acts
like a single sense-maker. The individual is constituted through an interactive
process. The sense-maker is like a puzzle undergoing constant re-definition (Weick,
1995, p. 20): It is a question about who I am as indicated by discovery of how and
what I think (p. 62).

Retrospective sense-making is derived from an analysis of the meaningful
lived experience (Schutz, 1967, p. 251). Individuals can know what they are doing
only after the action has been completed. Experience exists in discrete events, but we
only get this impression by stepping outside the stream experience and by paying
direct attention to it. We are conscious always of what we have done, never of doing
it (Mead, 1956, p. 136).
To be enactive of sensible environments involves Folletts (1924, p. 118)
notion of circular response; that individuals receive stimuli as a result of their own
activity: I never react to you but to you-plus-me; or to be more accurate, it is I-plus-
you reacting to you-plus-me. T can never influence you because you have already
influenced me... by the very process of meeting, we both become something
different (p. 62). Sensemaking is relating; individuals create their environments as
those environments create them.
Sensemaking is a social process, which is ongoing, where attention is focused
on face-to-face interaction so that joint understanding can be furthered (p. 40). When
individuals are thrown into ongoing situations, they make-do in order to make
sense of what is happening. Even though individuals may be immersed in flows, they
are rarely indifferent to what passes them by. Emotions affect sensemaking because
recall and retrospection tend to be mood congruent. The longer the search for
meaning, the higher the arousal, the stronger the emotion (Weick, 1995).

Socialization is focused on and by extracted cues. It is important to pay
attention to ways individuals notice, extract cues, and embellish that which is
extracted. Context affects searching, scanning, and noticing that which is extracted as
a cue in the first place. Context also affects how the extracted cue is interpreted.
Noticing is a more formal, involuntary beginning to the sense-making process than is
scanning (Starbuck & Milliken, 1988). Noticing is the act of classifying stimuli as
noise or signals. If events are noticed, individuals make sense of them; if events are
not noticed, they are not available for sensemaking. Scanning is more strategic, more
conscious, more deliberate, more under the control of preconceptions, and less open
to invention than noticing (Weick, 1995, p. 60); it implies more formal and voluntary
actions (Starbuck & Milliken, 1988, p. 45).
Socialization is driven by plausibility rather than accuracy. It takes a relative
approach to truth, predicting what is interesting, emotionally appealing, attractive,
and goal relevant (Fiske, 1992). What is necessary in sense-making is a good story
(Weick, 1995, p. 61).
Sensemaking theory and research makes some important contributions to our
understanding of organizational socialization. First, it recognizes that the individual
newcomer plays a role in his or her own socialization, and thus not all newcomers
will become equally socialized if exposed to the same socializing forces. Second, it
emphasizes the importance of expectations and experience in developing and
applying interpretive schemas in new settings.

Proactive Socialization
While sensemaking research focuses on the newcomers cognitive adjustment
upon organizational entry, proactive socialization research focuses on the newcomers
behavioral response to organizational entry. In proactive research, newcomers differ
in the extent to which they actively facilitate their own socialization. Proactive
socialization research has focused on three types of proaction: (a) information
seeking, (b) relationship building, and (c) behavioral self-management.
Information seeking. The vast majority of proactive research has focused on
the extent to which newcomers seek various kinds of information. Newcomers
commonly experience information deprivation (Jablin, 1984, p. 622). That is, they
possess less information than is needed in order to adequately master their jobs and
become integrated into their organizations (Jablin, 1984; Morrison, 1995). Therefore,
newcomers may actively seek information in order to reduce uncertainty (Berger,
1979) and to compensate for this information deprivation (Jablin, 1984).
Information seeking can be examined in terms of (a) what information is
sought (types), (b) from whom information is sought (sources), and (c) how the
information A sougrn (strategies). Researchers have considered the amount of
information sought overall (Mignerey et al., 1995; Morrison, 1993a), as well as
amount of information sought of specific types (Mignerey et al., 1995), or from
specific sources (Morford, 2002; Settoon & Adkins, 1997), or using specific
strategies ( Holder, 1996). Researchers have considered patterns (Morrison, 1995;

Teboul, 1994), predictors (Ashford & Black, 1996; Teboul, 1995), and effects
(Mignerey et al., 1995; Morrison, 1993a) of information seeking.
Researchers have used multiple schemas for classifying types, sources, and
strategies of information seeking. No clear consensus has emerged on the best
measure of information seeking. The most common measure, which focuses on
information seeking strategies, was developed by Miller (1988; 1989) but has never
been published. Most studies use measures developed for the study, and many do not
provide clear evidence of construct validity beyond basic reliability data (Morrison,
The lack of an agreed-upon measure and the large number of possible
combinations of types, sources, and strategies make it difficult to summarize what is
known about newcomer information seeking. Although no one study has considered
all information sources, researchers have considered ten possible sources of
information: (a) supervisors, (b) co-workers, (c) subordinates, (d) support staff, (e)
other newcomers, (f) romantic partners, (g) family members, (h) friends, (i) mentors,
and (j) written sources, such as policy manuals and other documents (Morrison,
1993a; 1993b; Ostroff & Kozlowski, 1992, Teboul, 1994).
Miller and Jablin (1991) proposed the most extensive classification of
information seeking strategies: (a) overt, (b) indirect, (c) third party, (d) testing limits,
(e) disguising conversation, (f) observation, and (g) surveillance (Miller & Jablin,
1991). These are defined in Table 2.3.

Table 2.3 Classification and Definition of Information Seeking Strategies
Strategy Definition
Overt Questions Asking specific, direct questions about a topic.
Indirect Questions Asking questions that dont seem like questions, or making vague references to a topic
Third Parties Checking with someone other than the primary information source.
Testing Limits Deliberately breaking rules or guidelines to see how others respond.
Disguising Conversations Using non-verbal behavior and humor to encourage discussion about a topic without appearing to seek information.
Observing Paying attention to others who seem to know what they are doing in order to model behavior after them.
Surveillance Keeping eyes and ears open to pick up on whatever information comes along.
Information seeking has been associated with a number of desirable
socializatio outcomes, including performance or task mastery (Morrison, 1 oq3a;
1993b; Saks & Ashforth, 1997), role clarity (De Vos, Buyens, & Schalk, 2005b;
Holder, 1996; Morrison, 1993a), social integration (Cooper-Thomas & Anderson,
2002; Morrison, 1993a), job satisfaction (Cooper-Thomas & Anderson, 2002; De Vos
et al., 2005b; Morrison, 1993b; Saks & Ashforth, 1997), and organizational
commitment (De Vos et al., 2005b; Saks & Ashforth, 1997). It has also been

associated with an innovative role orientation (Mignerey et al., 1995), reduced
anxiety (Saks & Ashforth, 1997) and lower turnover intentions (De Vos et al., 2005b;
Kramer, Callister, & Turban, 1995; Morrison, 1993b; Saks & Ashforth, 1997).
However, effects of information seeking have not been uniformly positive.
Ashford and Black (1996) found that information seeking was negatively related to
job satisfaction and not related to performance. Mignerey et al. (1995) found that
information seeking was no related to organizational commitment or communication
satisfaction. Furthermore, the effects of information seeking may not be uniform
across all strategies, sources, or types of information. Seeking information through
third parties may increase role ambiguity (Holder, 1996), especially if those people
are friends and family outside the organization (Settoon & Adkins, 1997). More
research is needed to fully understand the boundary conditions of effective
information seeking.
Relationship building. In addition to information seeking, newcomers build
relationships, or seek out interaction opportunities (Reichers, 1987, p. 201). This
helps newcomers build the kind of network and alliances (Aiken, 2002, p. 35) to

reduce the feeling of isolation and get things done (Bolman & Deal, 1995). While
building relationships is one of the primary tasks of socialization (Aiken, 2002;
Akerlund, 1988; Cochran, 2001; Morford, 2002), little has been done to clarify and
understand newcomer proactivity in this area.

One exception is a qualitative study of 12 principals by Aiken (2002; 2000),
which examined, among other qualities, two types of proaction: (a) forming networks
and alliances, and (b) developing and cultivating relationships. Forming networks and
alliances consisted of seeking outside networks, mentors, acquiring the skills of
collaborating, negotiating, and adapting that enable them to lead change. Developing
and cultivating relationships consisted of developing friends and allies, professional
relationships, and making connections with those people who can best help them
manage the chaos and complexity of their job.
The mentoring literature is also concerned with building relationships at work,
specifically developmental relationships (Jares, 2002; Monsour, 1998). This literature
has generally advanced independently of the socialization literature (Chao, Walz, &
Gardner, 1992; Ostroff & Kozlowski, 1993). However, it does provide evidence of
the importance of social- and career-related support (Russell & Adams, 1997).
Furthermore, mentoring has been associated with a number of desirable socialization
outcomes including, higher level of job satisfaction (Di Vito, 2003; Glynn, 2003),
strengthens newcomers relationships with peers (Di Vito, 2003), and enhanced
newcomers feelings of connectedness and ownership with the work environment
(Schrodt et al., 2003). For example, West (2002) found that the administrative
mentoring experience provided participants with a greater clarity of role, developed
their understanding of the organization, thus facilitating their socialization into it, and
helped diminish their feelings of isolation.

Behavioral self-management. Behavioral self-management (BSM) is the
influence we exert over ourselves to help us achieve the self-motivation and self-
direction we need to behave in desirable ways (Manz & Snyder, 1983, October, p.
69). That is, employees who engage in BSM are goal-oriented and self-evaluative
(Laker & Steffy, 1995; Saks & Ashforth, 1996). BSM facilitates the learning of
complex skills (Gist, Stevens, & Bavetta, 1991) and can act as a source of structure in
uncertain and unfamiliar situations (Tsui & Ashford, 1994). Therefore, BSM should
facilitate the socialization process (Saks & Ashforth, 1996).
Two studies have considered the role of BSM in newcomer socialization. Saks
and Ashforth (1996) examined the outcomes of BSM, while Laker and Steffy (1995)
considered the influence of socialization tactics on BSM. In a sample of new
accountants, BSM (i.e., self-observation, goal setting, self-punishment, etc.) was
associated with reduced stress, anxiety, and uncertainty, and with increased ability to
cope and internal motivation (Saks & Ashforth, 1996). In a sample of new college
graduates, Laker and Steffy (1995) found that an organizations use of less
institutionalized (i.e., individualized) socialization tactics was associated with greater
goal-oriented behavior.
Finally, Ashford and Black (1996) examined an aspect closely related to
BSM, positive framing. Positive framing, which they describe as a form of cognitive
self-management, represents an individuals attempt to gain control by altering the
cognitive frame through which he or she views and understands the situation

(Ashford & Black, 1996). In a sample of recently graduated MBA students, positive
framing was positively associated with both performance and satisfaction, and
mediated the relationship between desire for control and these outcomes.
Furthermore, positive framing had stronger impact on job satisfaction than either
informational or relational proactive behaviors, and only building relationship with
ones boss had a stronger impact on job performance (Ashford & Black, 1996).
Contributions of Proactive Research
Proactive research has made several contributions to our understanding of the
socialization process. First, it recognizes the newcomers active role in his or her own
socialization (Reichers, 1987). Second, it recognizes that some newcomers are more
active than others, and this difference in proaction is reflected in important
socialization outcomes (Elkins, 2005; Raschke, 2003). Third, the emphasis on
information seeking as a form of proaction helps us understand the important role that
information plays in socialization (Elkins, 2005; Miller & Jablin, 1991; Raschke,
2003). Finally, the consideration of types, strategies, and sources of information
seeking provides a starting point for a comprehensive consideration of the importance
of uoth cement and process and of both newcomers and insiders in socialization.
However, despite the importance of this research, there are still several issues to be
resolved and research questions to be addressed in this area, which will be reviewed
in the next section.

Gaps in the Socialization Literature
In the previous section, four key topics in socialization literature were
reviewed and critiqued: (a) stage models, (b) socialization tactics, (c) sensemaking,
and (d) proactive socialization. While some gaps were apparent from the review, a
full review of the gaps in socialization literature will follow the general model of
proactive socialization presented in Figure 2.1, which provides the organizing
framework for this section consisting of a discussion of: (a) socialization influences;
(b) processes; and, (c) outcomes.
Job Design
Work Group
Early Entry Later Entry
Newcomer Newcomer
Knowledge Knowledge
Newcomer Newcomer
Adjustment Adjustment
Newcomer Newcomer
Performance Performance
Figure 2.1 A general model of proactive socialization

Socialization Influences
Researchers have suggested a number of influences, both contextual and
individual, on the socialization process (Bauer, Morrison, & Callister, 1998).
However, only a limited number of influences have been adequately addressed in
research. Research has established that newcomer attributes such as self-efficacy
and/or self-esteem (Aiken, 2002; Elkins, 2005; Jones, 1986; LaPreze, 1997; Star Soh,
2000) expectations (Major, Kozlowski, Chao, & Gardner, 1995; Morford, 2002;
Wanous, 1992), work experience (Adkins, 1995; Bauer & Green, 1994; Lubinescu,
2002), need for control (Ashforth & Saks, 1996; De Vos et al., 2005b) and tolerance
for ambiguity (Cochran, 2001; Jaskyte, 2005; Jesus Bravo et ah, 2003) play a role in
newcomer socialization. Furthermore, research has established that contextual
attributes such as socialization tactics (Blass, 2003; Bottger, 2004; Elkins, 2005;
Jaskyte, 2005; Rice, 2002), job discretion (Ashforth & Saks, 1995; Black & Ashford,
1995), task interdependence (Aiken, 2002; Cochran, 2001; Jesus Bravo et al., 2003),
and recruitment practices (Beery, 2000; Chatman, 1991) play a role in newcomer
socialization. More research is needed in order to understand how these newcomer
~ arm contextual attributes affect important socialization outcomes. nmi'is, researchers
need to consider potential moderators and mediators in order to better understand the
processes and boundary conditions associated with socialization influences.
Furthermore, additional attributes need to be considered. In terms of the
model shown in Figure 2.1, researchers have tended to neglect insider and work

group influences on newcomer socialization. Additionally, many newcomer (e.g.,
personality, need for affiliation, ability, etc.), organizational (e.g., size, culture, etc.),
and job design (e.g., complexity) attributes remain either untested or inadequately
tested. Researchers have also tended to address influences in isolation, and have not
considered the combined effect of individual and contextual influences on newcomer
socialization (Bauer et al., 1998).
Socialization Processes
Since about 1990, researchers have increasingly focused on the actual
behaviors or interactions that result in socialization. The majority of this research has
iocused on newcomer proaction, even though Reichers (1987) proposed that the
proaction of both newcomers and insiders would directly influence newcomer
Specifically, researchers have focused on newcomer information seeking.
Researchers have devoted considerable time to developing elaborate schemas of types
(De Vos et al., 2005a), sources (Teboul, 1995), and strategies of information seeking
(Elkins, 2005). While this is useful, researchers need to focus on why some
newcomers are more pruacuveTnan others and what the impact of this proaction is on
socialization. That is, there is a need to consider predictors, both individual and
contextual, of information seeking. There is also a need to consider predictors and
outcomes of information seeking, not simply in terms of amount of information
sought, but also in terms of sources and types of information and strategies of

seeking. Understanding the patterns of information seeking is more interesting if
those patterns have different predictors or consequences. In addition, researchers need
to devote more attention to other types of newcomer proaction, such as relationship
building (Aiken, 2002; Cochran, 2001; Jesus Bravo et al., 2003; McEvoy, 2004) and
cognitive and behavioral self-management (Ashford & Black, 1996).
Even though gaps remain in our understanding of newcomer proaction, these
are relatively few in comparison to the gaps remaining in our understanding of insider
proaction. Insider proaction has received little attention in the socialization literature,
although several studies have detailed the importance of social support received from
insiders, particularly supervisors (Bauer & Green, 1998; LaPreze, 1997; Major et al.,
1995). The role of insiders in spontaneously providing unsolicited information has
received almost no attention (cf., Kramer et al., 1995), despite the focus on
information in the study of newcomer proaction. Researchers need to consider the
informational as well as the relational function of insiders in the socialization of
Researchers also need to consider the relationship between the amount of
^formation provided by the organization and its insiders aflu uic amount of
information sought by newcomers. This is true for other types of proaction as well;
researchers need to consider the relationship between insider proaction and newcomer
proaction (Bauer & Green, 1998).

Socialization Outcomes
The majority of socialization research has focused on what are essentially
secondary outcomes of socialization, such as job satisfaction, organizational
commitment, and turnover intentions (Bauer et al., 1998). While these are important
outcomes, they generally do not have a direct and unique relationship to socialization
theory (Ashford & Taylor, 1990). The primary outcomes of socialization include task
mastery (Blass, 2003; Star Soh, 2000), role clarity (Bottger, 2004; Cochran, 2001;
Jaskyte, 2005; Jesus Bravo et al., 2003), social integration (Cochran, 2001; Jesus
Bravo et al., 2003), acculturation (Louis, 1990; Star Soh, 2000), role innovation
(Raschke, 2003; Van Maanen & Schein, 1979), and knowledge (Blass, 2003; Cooper-
Thomas & Anderson, 2002). Despite the characterization of socialization as a
learning process (Fisher, 1986), little attempt has been made to judge the learning that
occurs as a result of socialization. While the structure of socialization programs has
received a great deal of attention, the content of these programs and the individuals
mastery of that content have been virtually ignored. One exception is the work of
Chao et al. (1994). They developed a scale to measure the acquisition of knowledge
associated with socialization: While the scale has a few weaknesses (e.g.,
confounding levels of analysis by mixing items about the job, work group, and
organization) and the topics covered may not fully represent the critical content of
socialization, the scale represents an important breakthrough in measuring a key
outcome of socialization.

Summary and Suggestions for Further Research
In summary, we have learned a great deal from past socialization research.
Stage model research (Buchanan, 1974; Feldman, 1976; Porter et al., 1975; Schein,
1978; Wanous, 1980) has made important contributions to our understanding of what
separates less socialized from more socialized individuals and the kinds of tasks
accomplished during socialization. Socialization tactics research (Van Maanen &
Schein, 1979) has helped us understand the socialization process. Sensemaking theory
and research (Weick, 1995) recognizes that the individual newcomer plays a role in
his or her own socialization. Proactive research (Elkins, 2005; Reiche, 1986) has
taught us that individuals differ in how proactive the are in bringing about their own
socialization, the importance of expectations and experience in developing and
applying interpretive schemas in new settings, and that the emphasis on information
seeking as a form of proaction helps us understand the important role that information
plays in socialization (Elkins, 2005; Miller & Jablin, 1991; Raschke, 2003).
Inasmuch as socialization research has made important contributions to our
collective understanding of this phenomenon, there remain numerous gaps in the
socialization literature, which must be addressed iii luiure socialization research. That
is, we have not researched, for example, the content of organizational socialization
programs and the individuals mastery of that content. Additionally, little attempt has
been made to judge the learning that occurs as a result of socialization. Furthermore,
insider proaction has received little attention in the socialization literature. And,

researchers need to consider the informational as well as the relational function of
insiders in the socialization of newcomers. There is also a need to consider predictors,
both individual and contextual, of information seeking. Just as there is a need to
consider predictors and outcomes of information seeking, not simply in terms of
amount of information sought, but also in terms of sources and types of information
and strategies of seeking.
In addition, researchers need to devote more attention to other types of
newcomer proaction, such as relationship building and cognitive and behavioral self-
management. Researchers have also tended to neglect insider and work group
influences on newcomer socialization. Additionally, many newcomer (e.g.,
personality, need for affiliation, ability, etc.), organizational (e.g., size, culture, etc.),
and job design (e.g., complexity) attributes remain either untested or inadequately
tested. Researchers have not considered the combined effect of individual and
contextual influences on newcomer socialization.
Finally, more research is needed in order to understand how the various
newcomer and contextual attributes affect important socialization outcomes. That is,
isseuitheiausfed to consider potential moderators and mediators hr crdei iu better
understand the processes and boundary conditions associated with socialization
Overall, this study addresses gaps associated with socialization research by
examining descriptive accounts of the experiences of central office administrators as

they orchestrate the organizational socialization experiences of newly hired
administrators to their school district. The practical significance of this study is that,
by describing and understanding the meaning of the socialization experiences of
central office administrators, insights are gained into the organizational socialization
tactics and processes employed by these individuals, illuminates the content of their
respective organizational socialization programs, and provides insight into the
contextual variables (e.g., job expectations, policies, beliefs, values, and norms that
guide behavior, relationships, and attitudes), which may need to change to improve
the effectiveness of organizational socialization programs. Moreover, no studies to
date have considered the meaning of the experiences of individuals responsible for
the socialization of principals into school districts.
Therefore, the purpose of this study is to advance the literature on
organizational socialization by understanding and describing the meaning that four
central office administrators, responsible for conducting the organizational
socialization processes within their school districts, attribute to their organizational
socialization experiencestheir thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, and assumptive
worlds (Marshall do'KosSnian, 1999; McCracken, 1988; Moustakas, 1994; Stanagc,
1987). Specifically, the grand tour (McCracken, 1988; Spradley, 1979) research
question that guides my study is, How do central office administrators, responsible
for conducting the organizational socialization processes within their school districts,

perceive and describe the phenomenon of socializing newly hired principals into their
respective school districts?

A research method offers a systematic way of accomplishing something
orderly and disciplined, with care and rigor (Creswell, 1998). Procedures or
techniques make up a method, provide direction and steps to be followed, and move a
study into action. Every method in human science research is open ended. Moustakas
(1994) suggests that there are no definitive or exclusive requirements. Each research
project holds its own integrity and establishes its own methods and procedures to
facilitate the flow of the investigation and the collection of data. Thus, this chapter is
organized into a number of sections and sub-sections, which describe the research
methodology I used in this study.
Research Question
The first challenge of the researcher, in preparing to conduct a
phenomenological investigation, is to arrive at a topic and question that have both
so 'meaning and professional significance. In phenomenological "search, the
question grows out of an intense interest in a particular problem or topic. That is, the
researchers excitement and curiosity inspire the search. Moustakas (1994) believes
that a human science research question should have definite characteristics,
1. It seeks to reveal more fully the essences and meanings of human

2. It seeks to uncover the qualitative rather than the quantitative factors in
behavior and experience;
3. It engages the total self of the research participant, and sustains
personal and passionate involvement;
4. It does not seek to predict or to determine causal relationships; and,
5. It is illuminated through careful, comprehensive descriptions, vivid
and accurate renderings of the experience, rather than measurements,
ratings, or scores, (p. 105)
Consequently, the grand tour (McCracken, 1988; Spradley, 1979) research
question that guides this study conforms with Moustakass (1994) characteristics and
focuses on how central office administrators perceive and describe their experience of
providing organizational socialization tactics and strategies to newly hired principals
in their school district. Freeman (1980) described this process as investigating the
inner contours of consciousness (p. 114).
Research Design
This study is a descriptive phenomenological study. In order to understand
what central office administrators are experiencing as they orchestrate the
organizational socialization processes for newly hired building principals, I needed to
listen to find out how they are making sense of the organizational socialization
experience. Coiisequenuy, in order to understand this experience from the central
office administrators own point of view, I selected a phenomenological research
approach. By applying this methodology, I could explore, first-hand, intuit, and
describe organizational socialization as a person feels it, experiences what it was like
to implement it, and is conscious of it (Stanage, 1987).

Phenomenology is a complex, multifaceted philosophy, which defies simple
characterization because it is not a single unified philosophical standpoint.
Phenomenology has its roots in the philosophical perspectives of Edmund Husserl
(1859-1938) and philosophical discussions to follow by Heidegger, Sartre, and
Merleau-Ponty (Spiegelberg, 1982). As a research methodology it has been used in
the social and human sciences, especially in sociology (Borgatta & Borgatta, 1992;
Swingewood, 1991), psychology (Giorgi, 1985; Polkinghome, 1989; 1994), nursing
and health sciences (Nieswiadomy, 1993; Oiler, 1986), and education (Tesch, 1990).
Ttie history of phenomenology starts with the transcendental phenomenology
of Husserl (1962), the German mathematician. The two major variants of
phenomenology that are manifest in contemporary qualitative methodologies are the
hermeneutic (Gallagher, 1992) and existential. The former, perhaps best known
through the work of Hans-Georg Gadamer and Paul Ricoeur, tends to focus on the
collective or inter-subjective features of moral-political life as evident in a primary
concern with issues of language and the nature and structure of communication
(Hammond, Howarth, & Keat, 1991The letter variant is perhaps best known to
social scientists through the work of the phenomenological sociologist Alfred Schutz
(1899-1956)a colleague of Husserl. This kind of phenomenology is oriented more
toward describing the experience of everyday life as it is internalized in the subjective

consciousness of individuals. It is the latter form of phenomenology, existential, that
forms the basis for my research.
Phenomenology is a formidable word. What does it really mean? Spiegelberg
(as cited in, Stanage, 1987), the brilliant phenomenological researcher, perceived
phenomenology as the name of a philosophical movement whose objective was the
investigation and description of phenomena as consciously experienced free from
theories, preconceptions and presuppositions. That is, through the consciousing
(Stanage, 1987) processes laid out by phenomenological exploration, descriptions,
and analysis (Moustakas, 1994), our experiencings (Stanage, 1987) and feelings as
persons are also shown forth for further understanding. As a research methodology,
phenomenology aims to identify and describe the subjective experiences of research
participants by studying their everyday experience (Schwandt, 2001).
In view of this, I selected the descriptive phenomenology research method
(Moustakas, 1994) because it is extremely useful for exploration (Krathwohl, 1998)
as the inquiry attempts to gain entry into the conceptual world of my research
participants (Bogdan & Biklen, 1998) in order to understand and to describe the
nieaning of their lived experiences (Creswell, 1998, Mcustaicita, 1994; Stanage,
1987). Because the essence of a phenomenological research study is an orderly and
systematic investigation and description of a persons felt experiences (Stanage,
1987), a qualitative researcher, working within a natural setting (Krathwohl, 1998),

can begin their investigation with a target of interest and seek explanations that
provide the best understanding of what was observed (p. 26).
Qualitative research is generally seen as being especially helpful when it
provides us with someones perceptions of a situation (Krathwohl, 1998). More
specifically, phenomenology permits us to work the soils of science (Stanage,
1987) and unearth, examine, determine what an experience means for the persons
who have had the experience, and provide a comprehensive description of that
experience. In view of this, the remaining portion of this section outlines five related
sub-sections that describe the methods I used to unearth, examine, and provide a
comprehensive description of the organizational socialization experiences of the
research participants.
The Credibility of Phenomenological Research
As phenomenology has been identified as a theoretical underpinning to this
study of four central office administrators, it seemed appropriate to discuss the
credibility of phenomenology as a method. In discussing the postmodern move
towards narrative research, Constas (1998) decried the highly elevated assessment of
localized knowicu^e found in recent educational literature. He believea in?.! u'
procedural problem exists in using narrative with educational research; that this
promotes a general acceptance of informality in research methods. Constas (1998)
lauded researchers who displayed an interest in narrative research and who also
demonstrated connections to philosophical thought within their practical research

applications. This research relies heavily upon the philosophical underpinnings of
phenomenology and on the structured research approach of Moustakass (1994)
phenomenological method.
Although naturalistic alludes to ways in which one may seek to
examine reality and these ways emphasize the wholeness and
phenomenological interrelatedness of the real world, qualitative
alludes to the nature of the understanding that is sought. The
qualitative nature of resulting description enables the researcher to see
the real world as those under study see it. (Owens, 1982, p. 7)
Ray (1994) suggested that in naturalistic inquiry, credibility and affirmation of
phenomenological research could be understood by Heideggers (1977) concept of
truth as unconcealment and Ricoeurs (1981) idea that truth of the text may be
regarded as the world it unfolds (Thompson, 1981).
Based on this premise, I consider my descriptions or interpretations to be
appropriate, because the reflective process awakens an inner moral impulse
(Bollnow, 1974, as cited in Ray, 1994, p. 130).
Research Methodology
In deriving scientific evidence in phenomenological investigations, the
researcher establishes and carries ou_ a'series of methods, steps, and procedures (see
Appendix H) that satisfy the requirements of an organized, disciplined and systematic
study. Hence, this section describes the phenomenological model (Moustakas, 1994)
as a research technique, including subsections on phenomenological procedure and
four research steps.

The Phenomenological Model
I reviewed a number of phenomenological discussions (Creswell, 1998),
research models in Giorgi (1985), Polkinghome (1989), Moustakas (1994), Van
Kaam (1966), Colaizzi (1978), Spiegelberg (1982), Dukes (1984), Oiler (1986), and
Tesch (1990), and selected Moustakass (1994) variation as he provided the most
comprehensive and up-to-date description of the phenomenological model. That is,
his analytical framework directly related to this dissertations phenomenological,
theoretical underpinning. Moreover, the model identifies specific processes and
methodology steps, which can be applied to this research.
Phenomenological Procedure
Moustakass (1994) phenomenological model consists of four processes: (a)
Epoche, (b) Phenomenological Reduction, (c) Imaginative Variation, and (d)
synthesis of composite textural and composite structural descriptions, which is
depicted in Figure 3.1.
Step 1Epoche
Step 2Phenomenological Reduction
81. Step 3Imaginative \ 'Nation
v ** Step 4Synthesis of Composite Textural/ Structural Descriptions
Figure 3.1 Moustakass phenomenological procedural steps

Epoche. Epoche is a Greek word meaning to refrain from judgment, to abstain
from or stray away from the everyday, ordinary way of perceiving things. This first
analytical step requires the researcher to set aside prejudgments and opens the
research interview with an unbiased, receptive presence known as the
phenomenological attitude. This shift in attitude moves beyond the natural attitude
where phenomena are imbued with meaning towards experience, which gains deeper
meaning. Katz (1980, pp. 36-37, as cited in Patton, 1980) explains,
Epoche is a process that the researcher engages in to remove, or at
least become aware of prejudices, viewpoints or assumptions
regarding the phenomenon under investigation. Epoche helps enable
the researcher to investigate the phenomenon from a fresh and open
viewpoint without prejudgment or imposing meaning too soon. This
suspension of judgment is critical in phenomenological investigation
and requires the setting aside of the researchers personal viewpoint in
order to see the experience for itself, (p. 407)
This shift does not mean the researcher must lay aside his or her belief in
reality itself in order to do phenomenology. Rather, Epoche requires that looking at
the phenomenon must precede judgment, and that judgment of what is real or most
real be suspended until sufficient evidence is accumulated. Included are all
phenomena of the experience and excluded are metaphysical and reaiuy judgments
(Ihde, 1977). That is, it is an ongoing analytical process rather than a single, fixed
event and epitomizes the data-based, evidential, and empirical (versus empiricist)
research orientation of phenomenology (Patton, 1990, p. 408).

Phenomenological reduction. Phenomenological Reduction is the second
analytical step, which requires the researcher to block out the world and to bracket
presuppositions in order to identify the data in pure form, uncontaminated by
extraneous intrusions. This process involves locating key phrases and statements
within the personal experience which speak directly to the phenomenon in question
(Denzin & Lincoln, 1994; Patton, 1990). The researcher interprets the meanings of
these phrases; they are inspected for what they reveal about the essential, recurring
features of the phenomenon. A tentative statement of the phenomenon is offered in
terms of those features. Phenomenological Reduction provides a unique way to
deliberately identify those understandings.
After data are bracketed, they are horizonalized or spread out for examination,
with all perspectives treated with equal value in analysis (Hide, 1977). Subsequent to
the data being grouped into meaningful clusters, a delimitation process is undertaken,
which involves elimination of irrelevant, overlapping, or repetitive data. Invariant
themes are identified so that the step of imaginative variation may be performed on
each theme.
The final challenge, then, of Phenomenological Reduction is the construction
of a complete textural description of the experience. From the themes and delimited
horizons of each research participants experience, a textural description is
constructed. A textual portrayal of the themes involves descriptions of organizational
socialization, which do not contain the experience itself (e.g., feelings of being

overwhelmed by information overload may be described, etc.). The textural portrayal
is an abstraction of the experience that provides content and illustration but not yet
essence (p. 409). Finally, from the total group of individual textural descriptions the
Composite Textural Description is developed. The invariant meanings and themes of
every participant are studied in depicting the experiences of the group as a whole.
Imaginative variation. The third analytical step, entitled Imaginative
Variation, involves making sense of something from different viewpoints.
Imaginative Variation will be described through different perspectives of
organizational socialization', that is from each of the four participants.
Through Imaginative Variation, enhanced or expanded versions of the
invariant themes are developed (Patton, 1990). In Imaginative Variation the world
disappears, existence no longer is central, and anything whatever becomes possible.
The drive is away from such things as facts and measurable entities and toward
meanings and essences. Through Imaginative Variation the researcher is able to
derive structural themes from the textural descriptions that have been obtained
through Phenomenological Reduction (Moustakas, 1994).
Synthesis of composite textural/srruciur al descriptions. The final step of
Moustakass (1994) phenomenological model requires an integration of the
composite textural and composite structural descriptions, providing a synthesis of the
meanings and essences of the experience. That is, the researcher looks beneath the
affect inherent in the experience to deeper meanings. As a result, the true meanings of

the experience are described and the essence of the phenomenon is revealed (Patton,
In review, each of these four steps (Epoche, Phenomenological Reduction,
Imaginative Variation, and synthesis of composite textural and structural
descriptions) was used to find and describe the phenomenon of orchestrating the
organizational socialization experiences for new principals in a school district. Next,
the methodological steps to these four processes will be described.
Four Research Steps
The four process steps provide the basis for the four methodological research
steps. These steps include: preparation required to collect the data; collecting the data
itself; organizing, analyzing, and synthesizing the data; and the summary,
implications, and outcomes of the research.
Preparation to collect the data. Interview data are the result of a series of
selections made by the researcher both before and during fieldwork. I made decisions
about which setting to conduct the research in, who to interview, where and when the
interviews would take place, and what instruments to use (Marshall & Rossman,
i^99). Data collection preparation also includes formmatiuh oi me question to arrive
at a topic and question that has social meaning and personal significance (Moustakas,
1994). As well as a literature review must be compiled, participant selection criteria
must be developed, and a set of grand-tour questions, and the floating and
planned prompts (McCracken, 1988), refer to Appendix I for a complete listing of

these statements, taking care to see that data are collected for all of the categories and
relationships that were identified as being important. McCrackens Four Part
Interview Model is depicted in Figure 3.2.
/ Stage 1 Review of analytic categories 1 & interview design Stage 4 \ Discovery of analytic categories & analysis/write-up^
T Stage 2 Stage 3 ^
Review of Discovery of
cultural categories cultural categories
k & interview design & interview /
Figure 3.2 McCrackens'four-p&rt method of inquiry
Prior to the interviews, and in accordance with the process of Epoche, I
identified my own prejudgments, prejudices, viewpoints, or assumptions regarding
the phenomenon under investigation. In so doing, my past associations, biases,

facts, and understandings were set-aside in order not to color or direct the
In this manner, then, data collection preparations were ensured. Chapter 1
formulated the question. Chapter 2 provided a review of the literature. Section Four
of Chapter 3 will describe the participant selection process. Section Five will describe
the verification of the data, and Section Six will establish ethical principals
considered in this study.
Collection of the data. The data were collected by engaging in Epoche, by
bracketing the questions, and by conducting long interviews (McCracken, 1988) to
obtain descriptions of the experience (refer to Appendix I). Typically in a
phenomenological investigation the long interview (McCracken, 1988) is the
method through which data is collected on the topic and question (Moustakas, 1994).
McCracken suggested that a series of planned prompting strategies be employed
(McCracken, 1988, p. 36). That is, broad questions were developed to give the
participant plenty of room to talk (McCracken, 1988, p. 40) and facilitated the
obtaining of rich, substantive, vital descriptions of the phenomenon.
The raw data were collected from May to September 2005 and were
transcribed into verbatim transcripts by the end of January 2006. Within those
transcripts were formal and informal interviews, which consisted of literally hundreds
of pages of data. Each of these transcribed interviews required a minimum of 10-16
hours to review and analyze. Furthermore, as descriptions of the participants

experience were recreated, follow-up meetings with each of the participants occurred
to give them an opportunity to critique these early drafts and to offer suggestions for
alternative wording. Sometimes these member checks (Ely et al., 1991; Erlandson
et al., 1993; Glesne & Peshkin, 1992; Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Merriam, 1988; Miles
& Huberman, 1994) of recreated descriptions took only a matter of minutes and at
other times it required more extended amounts of time. Suffice to say, hundreds of
hours of reflection, writing, re-writing, and follow-up interviews were required to
both collect and analyze the data. The interview itself offered me the opportunity for
an authentic gaze into the soul of another (Denzin & Lincoln, 1994, p. 823).
In summary, the tape recordings, field notes, long interviews, and informal
interviews comprised data collection techniques. As data collection procedures
included Epoche, bracketing, and interviews through informal means as well as
through long interviews, I concluded that I had adhered to McCrackens (1988) data
collection methodology appropriately.
Organizing, analyzing, and synthesizing the data. This methodological step
instructs the researcher to follow one of several phenomenological data analysis
methods. Subsequent to a review of the van Kaam (1966) method, the Stevick (19,1)"
method, the Colaizzi (1973) method, the Keen (1975) method, Moustakass (1994)
modification of the van Kaam method, and Moustakass (1994) modification of the
Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen, I selected Moustakass (1994) modification of the Stevick-
Colaizzi-Keen method because, according to Creswell (1998) it is the method being

used frequently in phenomenological studies (p. 147). Each of Moustakass (1994)
steps is presented in the appropriate order of analysis in Appendix A.
I organized the data by studying the verbatim, transcribed interviews
(Creswell, 1998) using the methods and procedures of phenomenological analysis
(Moustakas, 1994). The phenomenological analysis I performed produced meaning
units, (Creswell, 1998; Moustakas, 1994) which I then listed, and clustered into
common themes (Creswell, 1998; McCracken, 1988; Moustakas, 1994). I used the
clustered themes and meanings to develop the textural descriptions of the
participants organizational socialization experience. Last, I constructed textural
descriptions, structural descriptions and an integration of textures and structures into
meanings and essences (Spiegelberg, 1965; Stanage, 1987) or particularizings
(Stanage, 1987).
Summary, implications, and outcomes. Chapter 5 comprises the culminating
step of this dissertation. The final step in the phenomenological model summarizes
the study and relates it back to the literature review, to possible future research, and to
personal and professional outcomes.
In summary, Moustakass (1994) phenomenological model includes research
processes and methodology. The purpose of the research was to understand and
describe the meaning that participants attribute to their organizational socialization
experiencestheir thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, and assumptive worlds
(Marshall & Rossman, 1999; McCracken, 1988; Moustakas, 1994; Stanage, 1987).

Therefore, a phenomenological analysis of the verbatim, transcribed long
interviews (McCracken, 1988) was determined to be an appropriate methodology for
this study.
The Research Participants
This research involves four primary participants: central office administrators
who were actively involved in orchestrating the organizational socialization process
for newly hired principals within their respective school districts. The research also
included one secondary participant, the researcher himself, a retired central office
administrator in the bifurcated role of researcher and participant observer in
organizational socialization.
The Participant Selection Process
For the purposes of this study, I have selected a criterion (Miles &
Huberman, 1994) sampling strategy. That is, all four participants represented
individuals who had experienced the phenomenon of orchestrating the organizational
socialization processes for their school district (Creswell, 1998; Marshall & Rossman,
1999; McCracken, 1988; Miles & Huberman, 1994). Furthermore, all four
participants were senior leaders within their respective school districts.'By selecting
central office administrators to study, each of these individuals should be able to
reflect upon their organizational socialization experiences. All individuals had been in
their current position for at least two years. All individuals were able to articulate
their conscious experiences with the phenomenon. All of the individuals were

approached and asked if they would like to participate in a research project involving
the audio tape recording of them describing their experiences with organizational
socialization. Written consent was obtained, and participants secured their initials on
the permission form to tape the description. Finally, all individuals were informed
that they did not have to complete the recording and could stop at any point.
Contextual Setting and Situation
First, because this is a phenomenological study which typically relies upon the
use of in-depth, extensive and multiple interviews with participants (Creswell, 1998;
Marshall & Rossman, 1999; McCracken, 1988; Moustakas, 1994), I have selected
sites, two medium sized40,000 to 48,000 studentssuburban school districts in the
state of Colorado, which were convenient for the researcher to obtain participants
who were easily accessible (Creswell, 1998). Furthermore, negotiations for entry and
access to various levels of these school systems were aided by professional
relationships with the central office staff in both districts. Second, the two school
districts reflected similar organizational characteristics (e.g., size, rate of growth,
organizational configuration, minority representation, funding levels, etc.), presented
a high probability that a richmix of organizational socialization processes, people,
interactions, and structures relative to this phenomenon were present. Third, given the
researchers similar ethnic, cultural, and educational background, a high probability
of building trusting relationships with the participants of the study existed. Last,
although not exactly like all other suburban school districts within the state of

Colorado, the two site districts were not atypical, which lead me to conclude that the
data quality and credibility of the study were reasonably assured.
Unit of Analysis
The level of inquiry on which this study focused was the phenomenon of
organizational socialization (Feldman, 1976; Hart, 1991; 1995; Jones, 1986; Louis,
1980; Van Maanen & Schein, 1979; Wanous et al., 1984). Specifically, I focused on
how four central office administrators perceived and described their experience of
orchestrating organizational socialization processes within their school districts for
newly hired principals.
Verification of the Data
All research must respond to general principles of qualitycriteria against
which the trustworthiness of the research can be evaluated (Marshall & Rossman,
1999). These general principles can be phrased as questions to which all social
science research must respond (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Lincoln and Guba (1985) and
several years later Guba and Lincoln (1989) refer to these questions as establishing
the truth value (p. 290) or the truth of things (Moustakas, 1994, p. 57) of the
study and propose four constructs that reflect the assumptions of the qualitative
research paradigm.
The first is credibility, in which the goal was to demonstrate that the inquiry
was conducted in such a manner as to ensure that the subject was accurately identified

and described. The inquiry then must be credible to the constructors of the original
multiple realities (p. 296). van Manen (1990) adds that, credibility is the
phenomenological nod. That is, the description and interpretation of the
organizational socialization experience is something we can nod to and recognize as
experiences that we had or could have had. Finally, Ray (1994) suggested that in
naturalistic inquiry, credibility and affirmation of phenomenological research could
be understood by Heideggers (1977) concept of truth as un-concealment and
Ricoeurs (1981) idea that truth of the text may be regarded as the world it unfolds
(Thompson, 1981). The issue of credibility or assurance of the fit between the
participants views of their organizational socialization experiences and the
researchers reconstruction and representation of the same, was addressed in this
study primarily through the use of two procedures (a) peer review (Ely et al., 1991;
Erlandson et al., 1993; Glesne & Peshkin, 1992; Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Merriam,
1988) and (b) member checks (Ely et al., 1991; Erlandson et al., 1993; Glesne &
Peshkin, 1992; Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Merriam, 1988; Miles & Huberman, 1994).
Peer review provided me an external check of my research process by making
use of a peer debiiefcr (Lincoln & Guba, 1985) who served to keep me honest and
asking the hard questions about methods, meanings, and interpretations...
(Creswell, 1998, p. 202).
In member checks, I solicited participants views of the credibility of the
findings and interpretations (Ely et al., 1991; Erlandson et al., 1993; Glesne &

Peshkin, 1992; Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Merriam, 1988; Miles & Huberman, 1994).
That is, participants were asked to examine rough drafts of my work and to provide
alternative language, critical observations or interpretations (Stake, 1995, p. 115).
Lincoln and Guba (1985) consider this technique to be the most critical technique
for establishing credibility (p. 314).
The second construct proposed by Lincoln and Guba (1985) is transferability.
Broadly interpreted, transferability or generalization (Kennedy, 1979; Schwandt,
2001) refers to the wider relevance or resonance of ones inquiry beyond the specific
context in which it was conducted. Stake (1995), for example, defends the importance
of what he calls naturalistic generalizationsconclusions that both inquirer and
reader arrive at through engagement in life or through vicarious experiencein
contrast to formal, propositional generalizations. Further, he argues that inquirers
should assist readers in making naturalistic generalizations by developing interpretive
accounts that are personal, narrative in structure, and richly detailed. Denzin (1989)
holds the view that the inquirer engages in generalizing by making vivid and critically
examining the connections between unique, uncommon lived'experiences and the
commonality of groups, social relationships, and culturally constructed images that
partially define those experiences. And Marshall and Rossman (1999) add that a
study in which, multiple informants, or more than one data-gathering method

triangulation (Miles & Huberman, 1994)are used can greatly strengthen the studys
usefulness for other settings.
Within this study, I attempted to increase the likelihood that the reader could
engage in reasonable speculation about whether my findings were applicable to other
cases with similar circumstances by providing sufficient detail rich, thick
description (Erlandson et al., 1993; Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Merriam, 1988) about
the participants experiences with organizational socialization (Lincoln & Guba,
The third construct is dependability. Dependability involves the researcher
attempting to account for changing conditions in the phenomenon chosen for study
and changes in the design created by an increasingly refined understanding of the
setting. That is, I believe that my discussions in Section One of this chapter, which
outlines the research design as well as the discussion in Sections Two through Five
clarify the methods and rules of accomplishing the purpose of this research, which
ensures that the inquiry process was logical, traceable, and documented (Lincoln &
Guba, 1985).
The final construct identified by Lincoln and Guba is confirmability. In other
words, can the findings of the study be confirmed by another study? For Dukes
(1984), four distinct procedures exist for verification in a study and include the lens

of both the researcher and outside reviewers. His verification procedures begin with
the notion that data can be submitted for confirmation to a different researcher who
looks for identical patterns. Next, an outside reader can recognize the logic of the
experience and how it matches his or her own experience or the eureka factor (p.
201). This procedure is followed by, what Dukes refers to rational analysis of
spontaneous recognition (p. 201) where the researcher asks whether the patterns fit
together logically and whether the same elements could be arranged to constitute an
entirely different pattern. Finally, the strength of the results depends, in part, on
whether the researcher can subsume them under other data. Given the participation of
a co-primary researcher, my per-reviewer, I believe I have satisfactorily addressed
this final construct.
In summary, Lincoln and Guba (1985) describe four constructs, which
establish the criteria against which the trustworthiness of the qualitative research
project can be evaluated: (a) credibility; (b) transferability; (c) dependability; and, (d)
confirmability. I gave careful consideration to each of these criteria in an effort to
respond to the canons of quality.
Phenomenology and intcrsubjective Validity
Phenomenologists view standards and verification as mainly related to
researcher interpretation. To illustrate different conceptions of verification, neither
transcendental nor existential phenomenologists place a substantial emphasis on
verification beyond the perspective of the researcher. For Moustakas (1994),

establishing the truth of things (p. 57) begins with the researchers own perception,
of seeing things as a solitary self:
However much we may want to know things with certainty and
however much we may count on others experience to validate our
own, in the end only self-evident knowledge enables us to
communicate knowingly with each other. (Moustakas, 1994, p. 58)
However, if we go beyond Moustakass (1994, p. 110) phenomenological
model for verification purposes, one must consider Creswells (1998) concerns. He
maintained that the criteria which should be used to judge a phenomenological study
have not been clearly delineated in the literature, but he judged that Polkinghome
(1989) came closest when he discussed whether the findings could be considered
valid or not (p. 57). Polkinghome (1989) identified five questions researchers might
ask themselves in conducting phenomenological research:
1. Did the interviewer influence the contents of the subjects descriptions
in such a way that the descriptions do not truly reflect the subjects
actual experience?
2. Is the transcription accurate, and does it convey the meaning of the oral
presentation in the interview?
3. In the analysis of the transcriptions, were there conclusions other than
those offered by the researcher that could have been derived? Has the
researcher identified these alternatives and demonstrated why they are
less probable; than the one decided upon?
4. Is it possible to go from the general structural description to the
transcriptions and to account for the specific contents and connections in
the original examples of the experience?
5. Is the structural description situation-specific, or does it hold in general
for the experience in other situations? (Polkinghome, 1989, p. 57)