Newcomer Proactive Behavior: Can There Be Too Much of a Good Thing?

Helena D. Cooper-Thomas and Sarah E. Burke

in The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Socialization

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199763672
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

 Newcomer Proactive Behavior: Can There Be Too Much of a Good Thing?

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  • Psychology
  • Organizational Psychology
  • Social Psychology


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The aim of this chapter is to provide a comprehensive review of research on newcomer proactive behavior. We start by outlining why proactive behavior is important for new employees today and situating this within the broader proactive behavior literature. Following this, the chapter has six main sections. First, we outline the range of proactive behaviors that newcomers use, under the three categories of changing the role or environment (e.g., changing work procedures), self-change (e.g., feedback seeking), and mutual development (e.g., networking). Second, we discuss the consequences of each proactive behavior by newcomers that has been studied in detail and third, we examine the antecedents of newcomer proactive behaviors. Fourth, we outline longitudinal patterns of change in newcomer proactive behavior. Fifth, we present ideas around the potential for proactive behavior to be maladaptive for organizations and also for newcomers themselves. This is followed with a sixth section on practical implications, comprising a review of the sparse research to date on interventions to increase newcomer proactive behavior. We finish with ideas for future research and concluding thoughts.

Keywords: organizational socialization; newcomer; newcomer adjustment; proactive behavior; proactivity

Article.  16304 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Organizational Psychology ; Social Psychology

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