Understanding the Joining-up Process in Organizations

Joining-up, within the literature of organizational behavior, refers to a process by which two distinctly separate entities, mainly an individual and an organization, establish a relationship that shapes their future interactions.

The joining-up process consists of two stages:

Ideally, both stages are designed to produce a good fit between the person and organization. We expatiate on each stage below, respectively.

1.   Selection

Selection process not only assess job-related characteristics such as developed skills and abilities, intelligence, knowledge and experience, but may “serve the subtle function of selecting individuals whose values are compatible with organizational values and screening out those whose values are incompatible” (Chatman 1991: 461). Similarly, individuals select organizations perceived to match their values and needs.

2.   Socialization

Organizational socialization refers to the process by which a newly selected member of the organization comes to learn the values, norms, required behavior, expectations and social knowledge essential to participation in the organization (Chatman 1991: 462; Schein 1988: 54).

In the course of socialization, the new employee comes to identify with the organization and internalize its values. Socialization occurs in firm-sponsored social activities, in training programs, in mentor programs and in a variety of other formal and informal work settings.

Chatman (1991: 476) finds that socialization and selection make complementary contributions to improving the match between the values of the employee and the organization. Through the various socialization experiences, employees learn how they fit in the organization, and the organization learns what the employee can contribute.

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Schein offers that “though the process is psychologically gradual, this mutual acceptance is organizationally symbolized by specific events such as a promotion, raise, a new assignment, or formal performance appraisal. These events signify that a psychological contract has been negotiated, and that the new employee has been granted full membership in the organization” (Schein 1978: 111).

How well the joining-up process is managed plays a critical role in determining the organizational productivity of the employee (Kotter 1973). If the process goes well as possible and a strong mutual bond or commitment is created between the individual and the organization, employees will generally behave as organizational citizens and make correspondingly high effort choices.

On the other hand, if the process leaves employees psychologically unattached, there is no reason to believe that such employees will make the kind of efforts on behalf of the organization that an organizationally committed employee would.

If the two joining-up stages go very well, the result is organizational commitment, a process during which objectives of the organization are in conformity with those of employee. This link takes you to learn more about Organizational Commitment.

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