Organizational Socialization and Workplace Diversity: The Case for Experiential Learning

Organizational Socialization and Workplace Diversity: The Case for Experiential Learning

Dini Massad Homsey (University of Central Oklahoma, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1913-3.ch053
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Abstract

An organization teaches its members its culture through socialization. Sources of anticipatory socialization exceed just the organization. Many sources such as family, friends, media, communities, previous employment, and education play a role in the socialization process. Not only are people socialized into skills but also into ideals such as workplace diversity. Therefore, the teachings of such ideals need to occur before an individual enters an organization. Through socialization, members learn not only workplace skills but also ideals and concepts such as workplace diversity. Therefore, if anticipatory socialization begins before an individual enters an organization, then teaching of concepts like workplace diversity need to occur earlier as well. In order to merge theory with practice, institutions of higher education must incorporate the teaching of organizational values such as workplace diversity to adequately prepare graduates for entry into the workforce.
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Introduction

Recent national events such as a fraternity chant at a Midwestern university and riots between citizens and police officers in several cities across the nation demonstrate the need for real communication about race, and more broadly, diversity. Humans are not born with the knowledge to communicate effectively about or to engage meaningfully with diversity, rather such knowledge and skills are taught. The teaching process of such skills and knowledge is called socialization. We are socialized into values, beliefs, attitudes, perspectives, and behaviors, also known as culture. Organizations teach its members its culture through socialization. This chapter aims to discuss the learning of workplace diversity through socialization. Sources of anticipatory socialization exceed just the organization. In fact, many sources such as family, friends, media, communities, previous employment, and education play a role in the socialization process. Not only are people socialized into skills but also into ideals such as workplace diversity. Therefore, the teachings of such ideals need to occur before an individual enters an organization. Structural diversity and racial climate of higher education have been shown to affect workplace diversity competencies (Jayakuma, 2008), but what about curriculum? Higher education seems to offer a practical place to teach workplace diversity through effective teaching methods. This chapter will discuss how workers are socialized into values, beliefs, attitudes, perspectives, and behaviors and how such socialization can effectively occur in higher education to adequately equip graduates with the proper knowledge and tools to engage with workplace diversity.

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