ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

›› 2007, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (06): 1122-1130.

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A Longitudinal Study on Newcomers’ Pre-entry Expectations

Yao Qi,Ma Huawei,Li Qiang


  1. Department of Social Psychology, Nankai University, Tianjin 300071, China
  • Received:2006-11-10 Revised:1900-01-01 Published:2007-11-30 Online:2007-11-30
  • Contact: Yao Qi

Abstract: The early stage of organizational socialization is of great importance to both newcomers and organizations. One of the bases for the conception of organizational socialization is pre-entry expectations, which include the following three dimensions: work expectation, team expectation, and firm expectation. To some degree, socialization included the adjustment processes related to newcomers’ pre-entry expectations.
Nowadays, most researches on pre-entry expectations in socialization focus on the met expectations and examine their effects on some important outcomes of socialization; they are not, however, involved with the transformation processes or the relations among the processes of socialization. This research aimed to explore the transformation process of pre-entry expectations at an early stage of socialization and to understand newcomers’ adjustment rates.
In the field of I/O psychology, less attention has been paid to the processing of cross-sectional data using descriptive analysis and simple difference test; however, researchers have been increasingly interested in developing the mechanism and process of specific variables. Intraindividual change over time was the essence of the change phenomenon hypothesized to occur in the individual adaptation process. Therefore, this research employed a longitudinal research design and analyzed data using a latent growth curve model (LGM); further, we explored not only the intraindividual changes but also interindividual changes.
This 4-wave longitudinal study of 419 newcomers examined their pre-entry expectations and corresponding actual perceptions within a span of 6 months with NPEQ and its revisional editions, using an LGM as the analytical tool.
The results suggested the following. (1) The transformation process of pre-entry expectations at an early stage of socialization was characterized by a unique pattern: work expectation decreased in a linear trajectory, while team and firm expectations, in an unspecified trajectory. After 6 months, only firm expectations tended to be stable. (2) There were significant individual differences in the change rates for all aspects of the pre-entry expectations, while the individual differences in the initial stages existed only in work expectation. (3) There were significant positive correlations among all aspects of the initial stages and change rates of the pre-entry expectations.
According to this study and previous literature, enterprises should extend their concept of training and manage expectations according to the expectations dynamic patterns. Issues such as the predictors of individual differences need to be studied in detail in the future.

Key words: organizational socialization, pre-entry expectations, newcomers, organizational entry

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