Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Beth Polin

Second Advisor

Allen D. Engle

Third Advisor

Marcel Robles

Abstract

Organizations that successfully socialize newcomers benefit from effective workforces comprised of employees who experience higher job performance, satisfaction, and commitment. Organizational insiders, known as social agents, play an integral role in facilitating the socialization of newcomers, as these individuals make up the networks in which newcomers work. To better understand in what ways social agents help assimilate newcomers, a more thorough understanding is needed concerning how tie strength between individuals facilitates the socialization process.

This thesis has two objectives. First, two types of antecedents to strong tie development are explored: orientation practices deployed by organizations to promote interaction between newcomers and social agents; and proactive behaviors that newcomers exhibit toward social agents to foster strong relationships. The second objective of this thesis is to examine how strong ties impact newcomers’ frequency of asking social agents for information, also known as direct inquiry. Previous research has suggested that higher frequencies of direct inquiry positively influence socialization outcomes (e.g., Morrison, 1993b). The completion of both objectives will provide a new perspective for studying the information seeking patterns of newcomers.

To test the hypotheses regarding the antecedents to strong ties and the effects of strong ties on newcomers’ frequency of direct inquiry, data was gathered from full-time employees whose tenures’ ranged from six months to one year. A total of 154 responses were collected, and regression analysis was used to statistically test the relationships between variables. Results did not support the proposed antecedents to strong ties. Mixed results appear for the relationships between separate tie strength indicators and newcomers’ frequency of direct inquiry; thus partially supporting the postulation that tie strength does affect information seeking. Mixed results also emerge for socialization outcome variables. The findings suggest that the frequency of direct inquiry positively affects a dimension of newcomers’ job performance, but not job satisfaction or organizational commitment. Following a discussion of the results, the limitations and strengths of this thesis are discussed, academic and practitioner implications are offered, and future research directions are identified.

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