Organisational socialisation in a crisis context


Carole Lalonde, PhD, Professor, Department of Management, Pavillon Palasis Prince, University Laval, Quebec, QC., Canada G1K 7P4. Telephone: +1 418 656 7213 (office); fax: +1 418 656 2624; e-mail:


The objective of this paper is to highlight the dimensions characterising the socialisation process in a crisis context. Based on the definition of organisational socialisation advanced by Van Maanen and Schein (1979) and employed later by Jones (1986), a crisis is presented as a passage from a ‘normal’ situation to an ‘exceptional’ situation. A crisis represents a socialisation context in the sense that it is a novel state in which actors must develop a different way of mobilising their knowledge, utilising their skills, and practicing their trade or profession. The paper discusses certain findings that have emerged from the literature on organisational socialisation, as well as from the testimony of actors who participated in efforts to manage the Quebec ice-storm crisis of early 1998. It is hoped that this exploratory study's data will give rise to fruitful interaction between the field of organisational socialisation and that of crisis management.