Sustaining Organisational Culture: Factors, Socialisation Tactics, Outcome, Effects

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After the culture is developed, it is important for an organization to sustain its culture so that the organization can attain its long-term goals.

For this, an organization must select and hire candidates who best fit into the existing culture. Apart from this, effective performance appraisal criteria, training and development programs, and rewards should be in place.

Sustaining Organisational Culture

In order to keep the established culture alive, an organization must take into consideration three factors, which are explained as follows:

Recruitment and Selection Practices

The recruitment and selection process aims at hiring people with adequate skills and knowledge required for performing job activities. However, the final decision of whether to select or reject a particular candidate depends on the interviewer.

The last consideration of the interviewer is to assess whether the prospective candidate would fit into the organizational culture or not.

Role of Top Management

The management and its decisions have a significant effect on the culture of the organization. The top management establishes cultural norms and values that trickle down to the lowest levels in the organization. These norms are related to risk-taking, dress code, the extent of freedom given to employees, etc.

The top management first needs to practice these norms itself and then expect employees to follow the same.

Socialisation Tactics

After hiring the right set of employees, they must be made to feel comfortable. For this, interactions are conducted with employees on a regular basis so that they can adopt the culture of the organization. A detailed explanation on socialization tactics is given in the next section.

Maintaining Culture Through Socialisation Tactics

Socialization can be defined as a process of inculcating norms, customs, and ideologies among individuals in an organization.

According to Van Maanen and Schein, organizational socialization is, primarily, a “cultural matter”, meaning that organizational socialization illustrates the progress of organizational entrants as they attempt to integrate into the culture of a particular organization.

Socialization is an effective tool used by organizations to maintain culture. This is because socialization helps employees to learn and imbibe culture. In order to facilitate the process of socialization, organizations use a number of socialization tactics. There are six basic socialization tactics, as identified by Van Maanen and Schein.

Collective Versus Individual Socialisation Tactics

Under the collective socialization tactic, all new employees are made to go through a common set of experiences. For example, fire drills, where employees get collective training on evacuating a building during an incident of fire.

However, under the individual socialization tactic, new employees are put through different sets of experiences. For example, internships, where employees get training as per their job profiles.

Formal Versus Informal Socialisation Tactics

Under the formal socialization tactic, employees are given off-the-job training so that they can learn and develop the skills required for performing their jobs.

However, under the informal socialization tactic, employees are directly transferred to the floor for performing their jobs without any special training or orientation. This process is called on-the-job training. For example, waiters at a roadside dhaba learn while performing their jobs.

Sequential Versus Random Socialisation Tactics

Under the sequential socialization tactic, an organization defines certain steps for new employees to perform their jobs. For example, internship programs for doctors.

On the other hand, random socialization takes place when the steps are ambiguous in nature. For example, management training is random in nature.

Serial Versus Disjunctive Socialisation Tactics

Under the serial socialization tactic, employees learn through role models or organizational leaders. For example, mentoring programs. However, under the disjunctive socialization tactic, there are no role models or leaders, and the employees have to engage in socialization themselves.

For example, employees at a new business setup have to learn on their own as there are no standard procedures laid.

Investiture Versus Divestiture Tactics

Under the investiture socialization tactic, the existing skills and abilities of new employees are considered and preserved by an organization. Orientation programs, relocation assistance, career counseling, etc. are examples of investiture socialization.

On the other hand, under the divestiture socialization tactic, the skills and abilities of new employees are ignored, and they are asked to learn new skills. For example, medical students are trained by using the divestiture tactic.

Outcomes of Socialisation

After the socialization process is complete, organizations expect some specific outcomes. The outcomes of socialization include the following:


There is a positive relationship between socialization and high performance. Generally, employees who socialize well in an organization are high performers.

Employee Commitment

There is a direct and positive relationship between socialization and the commitment of employees toward their jobs.

For example, if interactions are conducted with employees on a regular basis, it would help the organization to listen to their concerns and resolve their grievances. This would enable an organization to achieve the commitment of employees toward their jobs.

Retention of Employees

If the socialization process is successful, employees feel like a part of the organization. Owing to this, they decide to stay with the organization and remain loyal to it. This decreases the rate of attrition in the organization.

Effect of Different Socialisation Tactics on the Retention of Employees

A high attrition rate is a major problem in most Indian companies. Even large organizations like HCL, Infosys, Wipro, HUL, etc. are facing the problem of high attrition. One of the major reasons for high attrition is the employees’ concern about achieving career objectives.

A group of researchers from the London Business School conducted a study. It showed that the attrition rate could come down drastically if new employees were made to go through a structured socialization process.

According to researchers, a major weakness of organizations is that they teach organizational values by suppressing employees’ attributes. The researchers explained that suppressing one’s own unique attributes makes a person psychologically depressed, dissatisfied with the job, and emotionally exhausted.

The researchers carried out an experiment at the Bangalore-based BPO of Wipro, which provides telephone- and chat-based IT support to customers. Under the experiment, the new employees, who had joined in a time bracket of three months starting November 2010 and ending January 2011, were divided into three groups.

In the first group, the socialization tactic laid emphasis on the individual attributes of new employees. On the other hand, in the second group, the socialization tactic laid emphasis on the organization’s attributes.

Lastly, the third group was socialized in accordance with the standard practices in that unit of Wipro. Here, it should be noted that only the socialization method of new employees was kept different, while the rest of the technical training and orientation remained the same for all the groups.

After the socialization and orientation of the employees, they had to eventually go and work on the floor. The work and performance of the employees were measured through customer satisfaction.

It was found that the employees from the first group were actually better performers. Such employees did not leave the organization very early. Thus, the researchers concluded that the attrition rate reduces when the organization adopts a suitable socialization process.

Article Source
  • Robbins S., DeCenzo D., Coulter M. (2011). Fundamentals of management. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson

  • Robbins S., Millett B., Waters-Marsh T. (2004). Organisational behaviour. Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

  • Suri R., Chhabra T., Verma S., Sharma P. (2007). International encyclopaedia of organisational behaviour. New Delhi, India: Pentagon Press.

  • Harvard Business Review (2008). Creating and Sustaining a Winning Culture. Retrieved from

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