Journal of Management Information Systems

Volume 14 Number 4 1998 pp. 195-217

The Impact of Socialization on the Role Adjustment of Information Systems Professionals

King, Ruth C and Sethi, Vikram

ABSTRACT: The study of socialization and its practices has only recently been applied to organizations to investigate the manner in which new employees adjust to corporate culture. Past studies have examined the nature of human-resource development from an individual perspective. Research in socialization practices represents an organizational approach toward understanding the manner in which new employees adjust to their roles. This study examines the impact of socialization practices on the nature of this role adjustment with respect to information systems professionals. One hundred and sixty newly hired IS personnel in five different cities were surveyed to examine the relationship between organizational socialization tactics and adjustment variables such as role orientation, role ambiguity, and role clarity. Results suggest that socialization practices affect professional role adjustment. Specifically, institutionalized socialization tactics lead to a custodial role orientation and individualized socialization tactics produce an innovative role orientation. In addition, institutionalized tactics are shown to reduce role ambiguity and role conflict in new employees. Implications for human-resource management of IS personnel and future research in this area are discussed.

Key words and phrases: information systems personnel, role adjustment, socialization, training