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Evaluating the impact of socialization tactics, social networks and demographic similarity on newcomers’ organizational socialization and performance in a longitudinal cross-industry data sample

Final Report Summary - SOCIALISEME (Evaluating the impact of socialization tactics, social networks and demographic similarity on newcomers’ organizational socialization and performance in a longitudinal cross-industry data sample.)

* Summary description of the project objectives
The “SocializeME” project was framed within fellow Massimo Maoret’s wider research trajectory that aimed to understand the effects of informal organizational networks on employees’ socialization and organizational performance. The funded project contributed to this objective by taking a specific look at the impact of informal organizational networks on employees’ performance and at the relationship between supervisors and newcomers, with the objectives of developing recommendations to make career transitions smoother and more effective and to allow firms to manage the socialization process more efficiently.

* Worked performed
The SocializeME project was structured in two phases. The objective of Phase 1 was the completion and extension of the scientific research performed by the fellow during his doctoral studies. Phase 1 included extending the database of his dissertation, developing new hypotheses and running econometric analysis on the data, running robustness tests to ensure the validity of its findings, and completing the publication process of two manuscripts that were under review. This resulted in two papers (1) published in the Strategic Management Journal (top-tier Strategic Management Journal) and a book chapter in the Advances in Strategic Management series, and in two working papers (2), one of which is currently under review at the Academy of Management Discoveries (the second being prepared for submission).
The second phase of the project (Phase 2) was a 48 months data collection to generate a new dataset on organizational socialization. A survey was designed and deployed, two waves of data collection were completed – yielding high quality data – and four working papers are under development, two of which are in Revise and Resubmit stages at prestigious journals (Journal of Organizational Behavior; Journal of Management Studies), one is under review at the Academy of Management Journal, and one working papers will be presented at major conferences in the Summer/Fall of 2018.

* Main results – Phase 1
Phase 1 scientific results made some important scientific contributions to the field of Strategic Management. The fellow’s research about the effects of core and peripheral social capital on organizational performance contributed to advance the literature on social capital by specifying its direct and indirect effects on organizational performances. The results contribute to the studies that link team diversity to performance. Findings about the direct effects of social capital on performance suggest that managers should focus on creating the conditions for structural stability by giving employees time to get to know and to adjust to each other, even if they are not immediately successful, possibly by creating a “safety net” to minimize and tolerate the short-term inefficiencies generated by temporary errors and mistakes. The fellow’s research about cognitive categorization and network perception introduced the concept of CASS (Cognitive Aggregated Social Structures) for studying managerial perceptions and decision making in network environments. By proposing an alternative conceptualization of network perception and modeling its predictive power over phenomena central to the life of organizations, such as their performance, the work stimulated the advancement of the relatively underdeveloped literature on network perception. An example of usage of the CASS construct was in the published article on free-riding in multi-party alliances, which took an important step toward a better understanding of the behavioral factors that may affect the performance of multi-party alliances. The article results carry practical relevance for managers of organizations involved in multi-party alliances and for those responsible for their governance.

* Main results – Phase 2
Phase 2 scientific results are in line to make important scientific contributions to the field of Organizational Theory and Organizational Behavior. The fellow’s research about the socialization of newcomers will contribute to advance the literature on organizational socialization in several ways. Three papers, currently under review, provide evidence to theorize the supervisors’ tactics and support behaviors that enhance the likelihood of obtaining a successful socialization of newcomers. A first study (3) addresses how supervisors can facilitate the adjustment of newcomers with high creative self-perceptions to their new roles in organizations, suggesting that high levels of supervisor trust and support for authentic self-expression serve as moderating conditions allowing supervisor creative perceptions to positively mediate the relationship between newcomer creative self-perceptions and adjustment. A second study (4) examines the potential downsides of divestiture socialization. Specifically, the study shows that supervisor support for authenticity allows newcomers to express their authentic self when faced with divestiture processes, and perceived supervisor creativity expectations enable them to deploy their authentic self-expressions to enhance their creativity. A third study (5) suggests that supervisors are not merely applying organizational socialization tactics but are active decision-making and action-taking agents. Completing existing literature on newcomers’ proactivity, the findings show that supervisors first evaluate newcomers’ proactivity based on their ability to generate feasible ideas and to promote themselves. Then, on the basis of these initial evaluations, supervisors decide whether to increase their support of newcomers’ innovative behavior or intensify newcomers’ socialization applying divestiture tactics. One additional working paper (6) elaborates on the impact of social networks on newcomers’ adjustment, and how socialization impacts the change in organizational identification of the newcomers.

* Impact of final results
The scientific results contribute to the following: providing a test for theories of the reactivation of social network ties, and the impact of such activation on the performance of a new employee; providing a theoretical model and an empirical test of the type of organizational network structures that favor the socialization of a new employee; showing the effect of different in ethnicity on the introduction and performance of a new worker; providing a theoretical understanding and empirical test of the role of supervisors’ tactics and evaluation process in successfully socializing new employees; and providing stronger causal evidence for the effect of organizational informal networks on employees’ productivity. Resulting scientific knowledge has been distributed through in-class lectures and seminars, and will enable practitioners to test, implement and refine industry and job-specific managerial best practices to improve organizational performance. Results will ultimately allow new organizational members to better control and predict their socialization trajectory, thus achieving higher individual performance, increasing workers’ job satisfaction and overall well-being. At the societal level, results will contribute to generate a scientifically-based framework to policy and law makers in order to facilitate the inclusion of minority members in the workplace and thus in European societies. Thus, preventing discrimination effects during organizational entry will ultimately contribute towards resolving prevalent issues such as glass-ceiling effects and gender salary discrepancies.

(1) Fonti, Fabio, and Massimo Maoret.7 2015 (Equal contribution). “The Direct and Indirect Effects of Core and Peripheral Social Capital on Organizational Performance.” Strategic Management Journal. Published online:
Fonti, Fabio, Massimo Maoret, and Robert Whitbred. 2016 (Equal contribution of first two authors). “Free-Riding in Multi-Party Alliances: The Role of Perceived Alliance Effectiveness and Peers’ Collaboration in a Research Consortium.” Strategic Management Journal, Published online:
(2) Reunited: Exploring the effects of past shared experience reactivation on new organizational members' performance. Ready for submission, Target journal: Academy of Management Journal. Expected publication date: Spring 2020
Taste-based preference or garbage time? Investigating the nature of coaches’ racial bias in the National Basketball Association. (with Ertug, G.) Under review at Academy of Management Discoveries. Expected publication date: Spring 2019
(3) Coupling newcomers creativity and adjustment: The role of supervisor trust and support for authenticity. (with Dufour L., and Montani F.) Revise and resubmit, Journal of Management Studies. Expected publication date: Fall 2018.
(4) The dark side of organizational socialization: How and when socialization intensity undermines newcomer outcomes. (with Dufour L., and Montani F.) Revise and re-submit, Journal of Organizational Behavior. Expected publication date: Fall 2018.
(5) Will I socialize you? An input-process-output model of supervisors' involvement in newcomers' socialization. (with Dufour L., and Escribano, P.) Under review at Academy of Management Journal. Expected publication date: Spring 2020
(6) The Causal effect of network brokerage on newcomers’ socialization: Evidence from a field experiment. (with Dufour L.,) Drafting stage. Expected publication date: Spring 2020