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This ethnographic study of a corporate research department expands our understanding of the difficulties encountered by new employees in learning the cultural rules of the workplace. Particular attention is focused on the process by which newcomers become affiliated with their initial projects. The results suggest that newcomers tend to identify with other employees on the basis of job classification, gender, age, and tenure in the department. Such information is useful in sensitizing all individuals in a given organizational setting to the culturally relevant learning which newcomers must acquire and in providing criteria for the re-evaluation of existing newcomer orientation programs.