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Fitting in and getting on: a study of the organisational socialisation of senior managers joining an organisation

By Naomi Stanford


The relationship between organisational behaviour research and commercial companies is complex, primarily because academic researchers and companies expect different outcomes from participation in the research. Businesses are usually looking to improve organisational performance and seek immediate, practical and applicable outcomes. Academic researchers seek an extension of theoretical knowledge and a contribution to the advancement of their field.\ud \ud Thus a researcher with a foot in both camps is seesawing between organisational behaviour and managerial practice. The task is to manage the tension to satisfy both parties. The study is an example of a piece of research aiming to satisfy the academic criteria for a PhD thesis and the commercial criteria of the sponsoring organisation, in this case British Airways (BA).\ud \ud BA had noted a number of business costs associated with senior managers who joined the organisation from outside. The aim was to find a way of reducing the costs and improving the joining experience for these individuals in a way which got them to high performance quickly.\ud \ud The theoretical field of organisational socialisation, described as having no unifying and coherent 'theory' of socialisation (Saks and Ashforth 1997:235), provided a substantially appropriate conceptual lens through which the current research could be analysed and subsequently applied in a commercial setting.\ud \ud In summary the two aims of this study were, first, to extend theoretical knowledge of organisational socialisation, specifically by confirming or disconfirming the relationship between investiture and performance found by Ashforth and Saks (1996) to a standard which met PhD award criteria. Second, to find a way reduce the cost and improve the experience of senior managers joining BA in a way which met this and other organisations' needs to improve performance

Topics: HD28
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:3043

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