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The way things are done around here: The role of normative control acts in organizational socialization as seen in newcomers' sensemaking acts

Scott Gerard Dickmeyer, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

This study attempts to demonstrate how newcomers sensemake normative control acts during organizational socialization. First, organizational attempts to achieve normative control were identified. Second, the sensemaking activities of newcomers were clarified. Third, the way, or how, normative control acts influence member's thoughts and behaviors in the organization were demonstrated. ^ Organizational literature and orientation practices at XYZ (fictional name) were analyzed using Strauss and Corbin's (1990) constant comparative method. Normative control diaries kept by XYZ newcomers provided insight into internal and external reactions to normative control messages. Finally, the researcher interviewed XYZ newcomers to understand how they sensemake normative control messages during organizational socialization. ^ Results indicate that management sends normative control messages that are thought-based, or intended to influence how newcomers think about the organization and its practices. Newcomers sensemake management's messages as indicators of appropriate organizational behaviors. Newcomers adapt their thoughts and police their behaviors as a result of sensemaking these messages. Normative control appears to have been achieved at XYZ as newcomers report that employees are better served by the norms of XYZ than managers. Four interrelated and co-constituted messages ground the communication of normative control at XYZ. Additionally, a process of normative control emerged in this study. Newcomers police their own actions in order to demonstrate that they think and behave in organizationally appropriate ways, thereby, giving the organization moral authority over its members. ^

Subject Area

Speech Communication

Recommended Citation

Dickmeyer, Scott Gerard, "The way things are done around here: The role of normative control acts in organizational socialization as seen in newcomers' sensemaking acts" (2001). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3009715.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3009715

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