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Organizational socialization as kin-work: a psychoanalytic model of settling into a new job

Gilmore, Sarah and Harding, Nancy 2021. Organizational socialization as kin-work: a psychoanalytic model of settling into a new job. Human Relations 10.1177/0018726720964255

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Abstract

Socialization, the transition from newcomer to embedded organizational citizen, is an inevitable feature of organizational life. It is often a painful and traumatic experience, but why this is so, and how its difficulties can be ameliorated, is not well understood. This article addresses this issue by developing a new person-centred model of socialization. We introduce the concept of kin-work, i.e. the replication of one’s first experiences of becoming part of a family, to explain how ‘successful’ socialization is achieved. Drawing on the methodology of memory work and psychoanalytical theories of object relations, we illustrate how entry into new jobs involves the unconscious re-enactment in adult life of the infant’s initiation into the family. On entry as a stranger to a new organization, one’s sense of self is fractured; processes of kin-work knit the pieces back together and one develops a sense of personhood and being at home. However, there is a sting in this tale: the homely contains its uncanny, unhomely opposite, so socialization is always ambivalent – one can never be at home in this place that feels like home.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: In Press
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 0018-7267
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 7 January 2021
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2021 02:46
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/137400

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