Anticipatory Socialization In Work

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Topics: Sociology
The text defined anticipatory socialization as "learning and practicing a new role before one actually occupies the position." In adolescence, anticipatory socialization does not require a high level of commitment from the individual. When one actually enters the world of work, as when one begins a career after schooling is completed, anticipatory socialization becomes a matter of assuming a role that one really wants, not a role that one thinks one wants to play.

The classic example is the aspiring young corporate executive whose clothing, speech, reading materials, politics, and even sports interests emulate those of people occupying roles to which he aspires. For many, this emulation begins long before a specific job is taken. From observations of two graduate programs in business administration—one associated with a prestigious Catholic university of about 7,000 students, the other with a southern state university of about 15,000 students--this writer has drawn the following basic conclusions: A conscious effort is made in graduate training to indoctrinate students not only into the required technical skills but also into behavioral patterns that will be required of them as business people. Indeed, students overall grades and the kinds of recommendations they will receive depend more than a little on how well they have mastered those nontechnical, behavioral skills. 'Research on medical training shows similar findings (Becker et al, 1961). Future doctors are expected to internalize "bedside manners" as well as to learn medical skills. Indeed, a recent article by J. B. Reuler et al. has projected a new emphasis on the importance of the bedside manner in doctor-patient relations (Jounral of the American Medical Association, 1980).

Similar inferences can be drawn from research on blue-collar workers, although anticipatory socialization was not the focus of this research. Studies by Donald Roy and Ely Chinoy (much of which was based on the classic research in the



References: merican Journal of Sociology 60: 255-256, 1954. American Journal of Sociology 5: 453-459, 1951-1952. Becker, H., et al., Boys in White, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961. Journal of the American Medical Association 243(3): 235-236, January 1980. Maiolo, J. and J. Bort, The Sociocultural Context of the North Carolina Shrimp Industry, Second Year Report, University of North Carolina Sea Grant, 1980.

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