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OF THE

MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE
OF TECHNOLOGY



SCHOOL OF INDUSTRIAL MANAGEMENT



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ORGANIZATIONAL SOCIALIZATION IN THE EARLY
CAREER OF INDUSTRIAL MANAGERS*
Edgar H. Schein
November 1963 #39-63



MASSACHUSETTS

INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY

50 MEMORIAL DRIVE

CAMBRIDGE 39, MASSACHUSETTS




Copy I



ORGANIZATIONAL SOCIALIZATION IN THE EARLY
CAREER OF INDUSTRIAL MANAGERS*
Edgar H. Schein
November 1963 #39-63



Paper presented at meetings of the New England Psychological
Association, Boston, Mass., November 8, 1963. This project
has been carried out under the sponsorship of the Office of
Naval Research under contract number NONR-1841(83) .



HI



x^.si-62



Introduction

I would like to begin this paper by giving you a little
of the background o£ my research project. It is a project in
midstream, and there are not as yet clearcut results from it.
But the conceptual and methodological problems encountered in
its execution have been sufficiently fascinating to me to make
me want to share some of them with you.

As some of you know, I have worked for some years on
the social psychological problems involved in the process of
brainwashing, or coercive persuasion, as I prefer to call it.
My studies of Western civilian prisoners, imprisoned on the
mainland of China, convinced me that their dilemma vis-a-vis
their all-powerful Communist captor had its counterpart in
the dilemma faced by new members of any large organization or
institution. Let me explain this rather blunt statement.

From the point of view of the political prisoner, the
dilemma is how to resist the all-powerful and alien forces of
his captor. From the point of view of the captor, however,
the dilemma is how to root out and convert alien elements in
his society. That is, after their take-over, the Chinese
Communists found themselves in the position of having to mold
new political beliefs in a large segment of their society, and



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to eliminate all forces which undermined any such effort.
Political neutrality was as much of a crime as being actually
hostile to Communism. Full and active support and parti-
cipation were demanded of all citizens.

If we maintain the perspective of the organization or
society, we can see that the need to convert members (citizens)
to a new ideology and to root out resistance or sabotage is a
problem which many organizations face, notably prisons,
hospitals, rehabilitative institutions, and to some degree,
industrial organizations. Particularly with respect to new
members coming into the organization, it is essential that
they be taught the organization goals, values, and preferred
ways of dealing with problems. New members must also be
taught to be loyal and productive, which is tantamount to
saying that they must accept the ideology, participate actively,
and refrain from resistance or sabotage.

The fact that much has been written in recent years about
"organization men" and illegitimate pressures for conformity
in industrial organizations heightened my interest in the
possibility of transposing the theoretical notions derived
from a study of coercive persuasion to a study of organizational
socialization in our own society. In effect then, my initial
question was to ask whether the early socialization experiences
of managers in companies could be explained best as company



attempts to coercively persuade them. In framing the question
in this manner, there is no attempt to imply that industrial
organizations are immoral or wrong if they attempt to co-
ercively persuade people. Rather, I am implying the hypothesis
that coercive persuasion is a ubiquitous process to be found
wherever an institution or organization finds itself having to
teach new attitudes and values to incoming members.

With this general question in mind, I launched a
longitudinal panel study of graduates of the M.I.T. School
of Management. The panel study has several specific ob-
jectives which, in combination, are designed to illuminate the
larger question.

1. The first objective was to determine whether the
attitudes and values of the panel members would change during
their first year in industry, and to determine the nature

of these changes.

2. A second objective was to determine whether observed
changes could be accounted for by organizational attitudes
and values; that is, were we dealing with influence or merely
change?

3. A third objective was to determine what sorts of early
job experiences or induction experiences each pannellist had had
and to relate the nature of these experiences to the amount of
influence the organization had on him.



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4. Only i£ answers to the first three questions could
be obtained, could we raise the fourth question of determining
the degree to which those experiences which led to greater or
lesser influence could be meaningfully conceptualized in terms
of the coercive persuasion paradigm. However, even if this
paradigm was not relevant, we would at least obtain useful
information on the conscious or unconscious, witting or un-
witting influencing forces created by organizations.

Basic Study Design

Having made my general objectives clear, I can now
describe to you my research strategy and some of the tactical
decisions which have been required in implementing it. First
of all, it appeared desirable to conduct a longitudinal study
of panels of subjects, rather than attempting to infer change
or influence from a comparison of cross-sections. Because of
convenience and because relatively little attention has been
given to the learning of the role of industrial manager, I
chose to select my panels from graduating students in our
M.I.T. Masters Degree program in industrial management.
Fifteen men per year were selected in the spring of 1961, 1962,
and 1963 to form a total group of 45 subjects. Subjects were
obtained by selecting randomly from the graduating class and
inviting the participation of those selected. In only a few



cases did we have to generate alternative names. The prospect
o£ learning something about themselves seemed to intrigue most
of the men approached sufficiently to make them willing to put
in long hours of interviewing and testing.

The basic study design can best be explained with the
aid of Exhibit 1. You will note that the initial step was to
gather a wide variety of data prior to the subject's entry into
an organization, in fact, prior to any job decision. The data
were gathered in the spring prior to graduation from our two-
year Masters program. Following a perusal of available tests
or surveys of beliefs, attitudes, and values, I decided that
we needed to design our own instruments. Existing ones suffered
from three defects: 1) they tended not to be refined enough
in the discriminations they made; that is, they dealt only in
broad value categories such as those found in the Allport-
Vernon-Lindzey Study of Values; 2) they tended to be built
to tap the stable parts of the person and thus were designed
to be relatively insensitive to change (the F-scale would be
a good example) ; or 3) they tended to ignore the particular
beliefs, attitudes, and values associated with the role of
business and the businessman in our society.

To provide a broad picture of each subject, I chose to
use an interview, objective tests, and some projective in-
struments. Though this method was expensive, it permitted an



! L' -^ II



Viit C VJ



-5a-



STUDY DESIGN



PRIOR TO ENTRY INTO COMPANY


AFTER ENTRY INTO COMPANY


I. II.

1. INTERVIEW 1. OBJECTIVE

MEASURES

2. OBJECTIVE "AS COMPANY

ATTITUDE MAN TOULD
MEASURES RESPOND"

3. PROJECTIVE AND

SiMI-STRUCTURED
DEVICES

U. PEER RATINGS


III. IV.

1. INTERVIEW ON 1. GROUP INTERVIEW

JOB EXPERI-
ENCES 2. REPEAT OF ITSIS

12, 13 AND lU

2. INTERVIEW OF

BOSS AND PEEKS

3. OBJECTIVE

MEASURES OF
BOSS AND PKKliS


MEASURES

1. CHANGE: I— >IV

2. ANTICIPATORY SOCIALIZATION

a. PROJECTED: I vs. II

b. ACTUAL: I vs. III3

3. SOCIALIZATION (INFLUENCE): I— »IV vs. III3



-6-



assessment of how consistent the person was in his value ex-
pression and a determination of which type of instrument was
most efficient in obtaining value and attitude information
from the subject. This presentation does not permit going
into detail, but I can state that we attempted to obtain
information about all beliefs, attitudes, and values which
bore any relationship to the managerial role and which one
might expect to change in any way as a result of joining
an organization.

For example, we attempted to find out the subject's
views of the rights and obligations of the corpoartion vis-a-vis
society, employees, and consumers; his views of the managerial
role and the attributes necessary to be a successful manager;
his own aspirations and values with regard to his career; his
theories and assumptions about people and organizational ar-
rangements; his day-to-day operating values in the job setting,
and so on.

The quality of the data secured depended greatly on the
cooperation of the subject. In order to secure good cooperation,
I conducted all of the interviews personally and attempted to
establish, from the outset, a relationship of trust and con-
fidence with the subjects. I did not deceive them about the
purpose of the study, but I did withhold my hypotheses of what
might develop for them and refrained from giving them any



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feedback which might in any way influence their self-image,
values, or attitudes.

The assessment of the men also involved some peer ratings
on a set of adjective dimensions. In order to facilitate such
ratings a series of group meetings was held for sub-groups of
15. The purpose of these meetings was to bring the mutual
acquaintance of the panel to a reasonably high level and to
increase the panel's sense of identity as a valued research
group. My observation is that this procedure worked well in
increasing the commitment of the men to the study.

After each man had made a decision as to the job he
was going to take, he was asked to fill in some of the same
attitude surveys giving the answers which he thought a typical
member of the organization which he was joining would give.
The purpose of this step was to determine to what extent the
subject would accurately predict the attitudes he would find
in the organization, and the degree to which he perceived
himself already to have acquired such attitudes.

Before leaving M.I.T., each panel member was told that
he would be visited at his place of work some 6 to 9 months
after graduation and that the study called for a three-day
reunion of the entire panel at the end of one year. The
operations described thus far constituted the "pre" measure,
the establishment of baseline data against which to measure



-8



changes and influence.

The next problem was to obtain data on the beliefs,
attitudes, and values held in the organizations to which the
panel members went. In order to determine whether observed
changes could be attributed to organizational influences, it
was necessary to measure the organizations on the same variables
that the panel members were measured on. As you know, the
measurement of "organizational" attitudes and values is at
best a touchy business because of the problem of defining the
boundaries of the relevant social network within which the
panel member is located. I decided to attempt this measure
by asking each man's immediate superior and one or more peers
with whom the panel member felt close to fill in some of the
same questionnaires that the panel member had taken. With
these data, if they could be obtained, we could then define
organizational attitudes either as the attitudes of the boss
of some weighted average of the boss and the peers. We did
not attempt any wider survey of each organization.

To obtain these data required effort and ingenuity
because each supervisor was confronted with a two hour question-
naire, much of it personal, for some researcher with whom he had
no prior contact. To elicit cooperation, we decided to work
through the panel member who set up an interview for myself
or my research assistant with the boss and peers. In most cases.



'9-



he was able to elicit enough cooperation to at least give us
entry into the organization. A typical visit lasted a day and
included the following activities: 1) a lengthy (one to two
hours) interview of the panel member to determine what experiences
he had had in his first few months at work; this information
was required in order to locate kinds of experiences which
would produce more or less influence; 2) short interviews with
the supervisor and each peer to obtain information about the
organization's general climate and the supervisor's general
philosophy of how to bring new people into the organization;
in these interviews an attempt was made to convince the inter-
viewee to accept the task of filling in and mailing back the
questionnaires. This step was successfully accomplished in
about 80 percent of the cases.

The final data collection step occurred one year after
the men had graduated. Each group of 15 men was brough back
to M.I.T. for a three-day reunion and seminar. The purpose
of the seminar was two-fold - l) to obtain information on the
actual work experiences, observed self-changes, and problems
of the first year at work, and 2) to reacquaint the men with
each other to permit a second set of peer ratings. During the
third day of the seminar the entire battery of attitude
questionnaires and peer rating forms was administered. Two
reunions have been held with all 15 men attending each one.
The third reunion is scheduled for next June.



10-



While we still have Exhibit 1 before us, I would like
to comment briefly on the plan for data analysis. You will
recall that our first objective is to measure change. On
each of the attitude areas or on each separate question we
can determine change by comparing the response given during
the reunion with the one given prior to leaving M.I.T. To
assess influence is more complex. Basically, the idea is
to determine how much of the change observed is attributable to
the attitudes expressed by the boss and peers. There are some
obvious complications: 1) how to combine their answers if
they disagree; 2) how to take into account the initial
difference between the man and the organizational reference
group; 3) how to weight changes which are in a direction different
from the attitudes of the boss and peers; and 4) how to weight
the effects of a subject's prediction or anticipations obtained
in the second data gathering step. We are working on a pro-
cedure to develop a meaningful index of influence but have not
progressed beyond the point of experimenting with difference
indexes.

To categorize the types of work experiences which the
subjects have had, we have transcribed all interview information
and are content analyzing it in terms of categories which I
will mention in a few minutes.



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Results

In this section I will have to give you a sample of the
different kinds of results we are obtaining. I will not be
able to give you definitive data. First, what sort of popu-
lation of people are we dealing with? Is there a stereotyped
M.I.T. graduate among the panellists? Both the interview and
objective data indicate large individual differences in values,
attitudes, and general outlook. We attempted to reduce the
interview to a set of major value themes for each subject.
Here are some samples of what comes out as major value themes.
Exhibit 2. Subject A values fairness, acceptance of the facts
of life, hard work and doing a good job. Subject B values
freedom, autonomy, challenge, adventure, and accomplishment.
Subject C values dedication, having a purpose in life, doing a
good job, and competence. Subject D values harmony and balance,
the good life, comfort, family and aesthetic pursuits. Subject E
values adjustment and conformity, understanding other people
in order to do the right and appropriate things, and good inter-
personal relationships. These kinds of differences are typical.



On an attitude dimension like the rights of the corporation
to be free of government and labor interference we have subjects
who strongly favor freedom and others who strongly favor control.
We have subjects who are highly cynical and others who are highly



Ua-



Subject A Fairness; acceptance of the facts of life; hard work; doing a good job.

Subject B Freedom; autonomy; challenge; adventure; accomplishment.

.Subject C Dedication; having a purpose in life; doing a good job; competence.

Subject D Harmony and balance; the good life; comfort; family and aesthetics.

Subject E Adjustment; conformity; understanding others in order to do the right
thing; good interpersonal relations.



SAMPLE VALUE THEMES



-12-



idealistic; some who trust people, other who do not. In short,
our research panels turn out to be quite heterogeneous on many
dimensions .

To get an idea of the kinds o£ changes which occurred as
a result of one year at work, we examined the test-retest data
on attitude scales as well as on individual items. Averaging
the results across individuals revealed that there were some,
though only a few, items on which both of the first panels
changed consistently. These are shown in Exhibit 3 in terms
of the percentage of men agreeing with the item. Also shown
are the percentages of a reasonably typical group of young
managers who have been in industry 10 years or so, and of a
large sample of the faculty of our school.

Notice that on five of the six items the movement of
the group is away from the faculty attitudes toward those of
the business community. Notice also that the last four items
all deal with aspects of the ideology of business. It is
around the assumptions of how a business should be organized
and how human effort should be managed that we observe some of
the greatest conflict between the academic and the practitioner,
and also where the greatest changes appear to occur in people.

We aggregated sets of our value items into the scales
shown in Exhibit 4, On these scales we observed large shifts



ITEM



The most important objective of a
company is to allow for the maximum
development of its employees as
individuals .



One of the major reasons for the
existence of company pension plans
is that they insure the loyalty of
the older employees.



10. Private enterprise working through
a market economy provides the most
equitable distribution of society's
goods and services.



99. The welfare of society is best

achieved if all businesses pursue
profit to the best of their ability.



90. Strikes are usually caused by union
leaders rather than rank-and-file
members .



93. A clearcut hierarchy of authority
and responsibility is the corner-
stone of the business organization.



12a-



% AGREEING



PANEL
TEST 1



21



38



PANEL
TEST 2



ii8



70



79



38



^9



BUSINESS

REFERENCE

GROUP^^



32



12



FACULTY

REFERENCE

GROUP^Hf-



26



5U



90«iHfr



67



97



50



93



95



63



82



90



U8



U5



36



53



* Forty-one middle level managers selected for attendance at MIT's Sloan Fellowship Program.

*» Fifty-three faculty members of MIT's School of Industrial Management.

^r^ Item 10 also showed a dramatic shift from 6 to 17 people who "strongly agreed".



SAMPLE CHANGES



12b-



Strongly Agree
1.0



Mildly Agree Mildly Disagree Strongly Disagree
1.^ 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 U.O



Business should
36 free of con-
brol



Business should
have broad res-
Donsibility



High general
cynicism



High cynicism
about getting
ahead



Theory X orien-
tation, low
faith in people



Low faith in
groups



Mgt. is tough ,
and for tough
people



In favor of
small business



In favor of
professional ,
"cosmopolitan"
orientation



-e-



-9> Br



-^#^-&-



^Hh



9-



t^



6 ) • 00



POQ II SCALE ANALYSIS PROFILE



In favor of
large business



In favor of
"local" company
loyalty orientation



8 Original Panel Score
X Final Panel Score
O Supervisors' Scores
D Faculty Scores



13-



in individual subjects but virtually no shifts of the group
as a whole. The exhibit shows the original and retest scores
of the second panel. Also shown on the Exhibit are the average
scores of all of the supervisors on whom we had data as well
as the faculty sample. You can observe the differences between
the business school values and the businessman values most
clearly on scales 1,3,5, and 6. On Scale 1 what little move-
ment of the panel there is, is in the business direction. On
Scale 2, the panel continues to hold the relatively greater
cynicism characteristic of the academic environment. On Scale 5,
some movement toward business values occurs, while on Scale 6,
the group remains unchanged.

One attitude survey attempted to get panellists to rate
which of 44 aspects of the job situation they considered very
important on a seven point scale. Only three items shifted
consistently in both panels. The importance attached to
"motivating people to produce their best efforts" went down
from 6.2 to 4.8; the importance attached to "loyalty to own
department" went up from 4.0 to 4.6; and the importance attached
to "loyalty to company" went up from 4.6 to 5.8.

All in all, the group level results were remarkably
stable even though individuals changed considerably, which
further underlines the importance of studying the process of
socialization longitudinally rather than in terms of cross-
sections of people.



; .r !



-14'



Let us examine next an example of influence where it
could be observed. We plotted the individual answers on our
main attitude survey anddetermined on how many items the person
had changed in the direction of his immediate superior. We
took into account the number of items on which the subject and
his boss initially differed, and the number of items on which
the subject moved inadirection opposite to the superior. On this
basis, we were able to identify some subjects who were clearly
influenced more than others. Exhibit 5 shows the scale scores
of one of these subjects. As can be seen, he clearly moved
toward the attitudes of his boss on scales 1,3,5,7,8, and 9.

The next step in our plan is to relate patterns of
influence to organizational experiences during the first year
at work. Some description of the kind of conceptual scheme
we are using here will serve to round out this presentation.
I believe that the essence of coercive persuasion is to make
it difficult or impossible for the person to leave the or-
ganization, while persuading him of certain attitudes and
values characteristic of the organization. The persuasion or
change induction takes the form of disconf irming his old
attitudes while providing role models of the new attitudes.
The new attitudes are likely to be learned through those
persons in the immediate environment who are particularly
salient by virtue of their position or personal characteristics.
In most cases, we assume that the boss serves as the primary



il 'l



-14a-
Strongly Agree ^ Mildly Agree ^^ Mldly^Disagree^^^Strongly^Disagree



1.0



1.5



Business should
ibe free of con-
trol



Business should
have broad res-
ponsibility

High general
cynicism



High cynicism
about getting
ahead



. Theory X orien-
tation, low
faith in people



i Low faith in
groups



Mgt. is tough,
and for tough
people



In favor of
small business



In favor of
professional,
"cosmopolitan**
orientation



■^y



f-^



♦— K-



■^



)( • #



f^



■^




■^^





POQ II SCALE ANALYSIS PROFILE



Business should
be controlled



Business should
have limited
responsibility



Low general
cynicism



Low cynicism
about getting
ahead



Theory Y orien-
tation, high faith
in people



High faith in
groups



Met, is not tough ,
not limited to
tough people



In favor of
large business



In favor of
"local" company
loyalty orientation



• First Testing - S 19
^ Second Testing - S 19
^ Supervisor



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role model.

In terms of these very general notions, we are led to an


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Online LibraryEdgar H ScheinOrganizational socialization in the early career of industrial managers → online text (page 1 of 2)