Rookies Connected: Interpersonal Relationships Among Newcomers, Newcomer Adjustment Processes, and Socialization Outcomes

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Journal of Applied Psychology

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How do relationships among newcomers in the same cohort impact how quickly they develop clear understandings of their new roles and, ultimately, key socialization outcomes? We study newcomers' relationships with cohort members in the same unit (i.e., intra-unit relationships) and those in different units (i.e., inter-unit relationships). While organizations invest substantial time and resources in promoting broad networking among newcomers, we offer a theoretical and empirical account of how too many connections among fellow newcomers early in the socialization process can slow their adjustment-namely, their growth in role clarity. In Study 1, we surveyed 189 newcomers in an international conglomerate from their orientations through their first 4 months and linked responses to 3 years of their job performance and turnover records. After controlling for the initial level of role clarity, we found an inverted U-shaped relationship between newcomers' intra-unit peer connections and growth in role clarity, whereas their inter-unit peer connections did not significantly relate to growth in role clarity. Growth in role clarity positively related to subsequent newcomers' job satisfaction and job performance, which were then negatively related to turnover. Study 2's results indicated that sensemaking with fellow newcomers operated as a key mechanism linking the nonlinear relationships between intra-unit newcomer-newcomer relationships and growth in role clarity. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).


American Psychological Association (APA)


Social and Behavioral Sciences

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Open Access