Big fish in a new pond : how self-perceived status influences newcomer change oriented behaviors




Howell, Taeya Marie

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My dissertation focuses on self-perceived status as a driver for newcomers to initiate change in the organizations they join, either by trying to modify the tasks they are assigned to do (job crafting), implementing changes that affect how others do their work (taking charge), or making broader suggestions for improvement to the organization (voice). Although research has noted the actions that organizations take to socialize and to assimilate newcomers into the way things are conventionally done, my research centers the focus on the agency that newcomers display. I find that self-perceived status, how much prestige, respect, or admiration a newcomer thinks he/she enjoys in a group, plays an important role in determining newcomer change oriented behaviors. I also examine if newcomer self-perceived status influences the target of change oriented behaviors towards coworkers or supervisors. I find some support for the moderating influences of both individual level differences (e.g., self-monitoring) and organizational contextual factors (e.g., socialization tactics that aim to affirm newcomers' unique values and skills in the new organization) on the relationship between self-perceived status and the propensity to engage in change oriented behaviors. I test my hypotheses with a variety of methods including a field study and two laboratory experiments.




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