Expectations are also central to organizational socialization. An expectation is a belief about the likelihood that something will occur. Expecta- tions can encompass behaviors, feelings, policies, and attitudes. Newcomers have expectations about how they will be treated, what they will be asked to do, and how they will feel in the new organization, among other things. Expectations are important for a variety of organizational issues, including motivation and decision making. Research suggests that newcomers’ expectations can affect their satisfac- tion, performance, commitment, and tendency to remain with an organization.

Unfortunately, recruiting practices often result in recruits having inflated expectations of their jobs and organizational life.Unrealistically high expecta- tions are not likely to be met, leading recruits to be dissatisfied and increasing the chances they will leave an organization. John Wanous argued that adjusting newcomer expectations to more reasonable (lower) levels reduces turnover.

In general, unmet expectations (whether realistic or not) can lead to dissatisfac- tion, which can eventually result in individuals quitting their jobs.31 McKay and colleagues speculate as to whether many common efforts to increase diversity via recruitment may in fact increase turnover from those so recruited, as they often find an organizational reality that differs markedly from what was presented to them in the recruitment process. Furthermore, in a longitudinal study, Irving and Meyer report effects for any discrepancy between what newcomers expect and what they encounter. This is not just for expectations that are unrealistically high.A newcomer may have realistic expectations about an organization’s social policies (like allowing time off for family issues), but discover that the pol- icies are different than expected (e.g., requiring that time off be earned).

Newcomers develop and test expectations throughout the socialization pro- cess. The expectations that an individual will develop depend on a number of factors and a variety of sources, including the organization and its representatives, coworkers, friends, family, the media, as well the newcomer’s own personality, attitudes, values, and prior experiences.

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