The Role of Time in Socialization Dynamics

Blake E. Ashforth

in The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Socialization

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

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

The Role of Time in Socialization Dynamics

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  • Organizational Psychology
  • Social Psychology



Although socialization is explicitly about preparing newcomers for the future, time plays only a backstage role in most models and studies. To help move time to the front stage, six issues are discussed. First, the distinction between clock time and event time suggests that learning and adjustment are “lumpy” in that they are often prompted by a series of events. Second, the rate of learning and adjustment are strongly influenced by temporally oriented individual differences, the difficulty of transitioning from one’s former role to one’s current role, and various features of the work context. Third, the rate is also strongly influenced by socialization processes enacted by the organization (socialization tactics) and newcomers (proactivity). Fourth, time lags, the duration of effects, the relative stability of learning and adjustment, and evolving newcomer needs are considered. Fifth, the increasing need for “swift socialization” is recognized, along with how organizations are addressing this need. Finally, prescriptions are offered for when and how often to measure socialization dynamics.

Keywords: learning; adjustment; time; events; role transitions; socialization tactics; proactivity; swift socialization

Article.  19449 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Organizational Psychology ; Social Psychology

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