Cardiff University | Prifysgol Caerdydd ORCA
Online Research @ Cardiff 
WelshClear Cookie - decide language by browser settings

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

Gilmore, Sarah ORCID: and Harding, Nancy 2022. Organizational socialization as kin-work: a psychoanalytic model of settling into a new job. Human Relations 75 (3) , pp. 583-605. 10.1177/0018726720964255

[thumbnail of Uncanny 2020 Final.pdf]
PDF - Accepted Post-Print Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (310kB) | Preview


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: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 0018-7267
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 7 January 2021
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 18:06

Citation Data

Cited 3 times in Scopus. View in Scopus. Powered By Scopus® Data

Actions (repository staff only)

Edit Item Edit Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics