ERG SES G 05, Transition and Education
The contribution addresses three different perspectives as well as both theoretical and empirical strands of research regarding the individual new members in organizations, known as the “newcomers”. It shows different ways to analyse the relationship between newcomer and organizations in the phase of transitions INTO organizations.
In a first perspective, newcomers in organizations are a relevant field of research, which in the past has mainly been addressed by the perspective of organizational psychology and the perspective of Human Resources Management: New members of staff were regarded as individuals who were to be involved, to be engaged, to be socialized, to be made “fit” and match to the organizational structures, processes and culture. Theoretical and empirical research addresses the phase of recruiting, of onboarding and of integration of new members in the organization. In a Human Resources (HR) perspective, this transition has to be dealt with as making integration a smooth experience and an effective organizational process of new members´ integration (Kieser et al. 1990). Organizing transitions here means to correctly and most efficiently explain existing systems and processes. While newcomers in this view are deficient they have to learn organizational tasks and duties. The organization takes over the role of supporting and integrating them into the group of co-workers.
A second perspective opens up the view of newcomers as carriers of knowledge and as potential for the organization. In this view he/she is not only addressed as an “issue” for HR, but for knowledge management, too (Nonaka/ Takeuchi 1997). In a pre-study, realized by the author, this perspective has been addressed. Knowledge based approaches on organizational newcomers offer the potential of a more open, more developmental and more resource based view than HR perspectives traditionally did. As the conducted pre-study showed, the knowledge based approaches address the issue of constantly changing requirements, the need for an efficient and effective use of knowledge resources, and the urge to build on relevant competences and attitudes of knowledge carriers (Reinmann-Rothmeier 2001). Learning here is regarded as a central competitive advantage for organizations, which are enabled to react much faster and to face much better upcoming challenges in an uncertain world. While HR approaches only tend to see the “knowledge transmission” perspective from the organizational side, the knowledge management approach takes into account the implicit and explicit dimensions. The onboarding phase here is regarded as a crucial phase of transitioning into specific organizational ways of dealing with knowledge. Taking into account the specific knowledge sets of newcomers, this can be made fruitful for the organization (Argote/ Ophir 2002).
A third and still more radical perspective on the potential of the newcomer to make an influence on the organization is offered by the “newcomer innovation” approach (Revsbaek 2014). In this view, the organization and its members are transitioning into the new perspective offered by a new member. Here, the perspective on innovation potentials of “non-membership”, of a “heterodoxical” position of “nescience“ and “not knowing” (Wilkesmann 2010) is becoming an interesting new theoretical perspective for organizational education and the theoretical and empirical reconstruction of newcomer innovation.
Argote, L./ Ophir, R. (2002): Intraorganizational learning. In: Baum, J.A.C. (Ed.): Companion to organizations. Oxford, UK: Blackwell, p. 181-207. Feldman, D. C. (2012). The impact of socializing newcomers on insiders. In: Wanberg, C. R. (Ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Socialization, pp. 215-229. New York: Oxford University Press. Kieser, A./ Nagel, R./ Krüger, K.-H. (1990): Die Einführung neuer Mitarbeiter in das Unternehmen. Neuwied: Kommentator Verlag. Nonaka, I./ Takeuchi, H. (1997): Die Organisation des Wissens. Wie japanische Unternehmen eine brachliegende Ressource nutzbar machen. Frankfurt/Main: Campus Verlag. Mayring, P. (2010): Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse: Grundlagen und Techniken. Weinheim: Beltz Verlag. Reinmann-Rothmeier, G. (2001): Das Münchener Modell: Eine integrative Sicht auf das Managen von Wissen. Wissensmanagement, 5, 51-55. Revsbaek, L. (2014): Adjusting to the Emergent. A Process Theory Perspective on Organizational Socialization and Newcomer Innovation. Aalborg: Aalborg University Press. Wilkesmann, M. (2010): Der professionelle Umgang mit Nichtwissen. Einflussfaktoren auf der individuellen, organisationalen und organisationsübergreifenden Ebene. Dortmund: Zentrum für Weiterbildung, Discussion papers des Zentrum für Weiterbildung, 01-2010.
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