Socialization in the work place is one of the most interesting concepts I have learned this term because it happens in the everyday workplace. When new people or coworkers meet, there is always a level of uncertainty. For me I had no idea there were so many forms of uncertainty. Lets first start with Referent uncertainty. Referent uncertainty is wondering what are my tasks. Now hopefully this step is avoided and you should know what you're doing before you even have an interview, but some jobs are more complicated and more guidance is needed. Another uncertainty is appraisal uncertainty. Appraisal uncertainty is gaging your ability to perform the required tasks. Again hopefully you decided this before you applied but some employees get way in over their head once they start a job. They get a job because they need it and realize that they suck at the job and it is not for them.
One of my favorite and most applicable uncertainties is relational uncertainty: How do I negotiate the various relationships with my new boss and coworkers. When starting out at a new workplace you always are unsure of the type of people you are going to be around and the type of workers they are. Every boss has a different personality and management style and every worker likes to be managed differently. Some work environments will work when others won't, even with similar companies due to difference in culture and personality. That's why big time jobs invite people in to talk and meet with current employees.
So how do we manage these uncertainties. I personally learned a lot from this and will use it when I become a new member of an organization. One way is by information seeking. We do this through overt questions, indirect questions (making it seem like you know how to do something but you want to "check" if you are doing it right), third parties, testing the limits (not my favorite personal method, as certain employees really mess things up this way), observing, and surveillance. Questioning and observation are the most used in my opinion. Observing a veteran employee is very beneficial, seems how they have been at the company a long while. Questions are obviously the most effective when allowed. Some bosses who say they love questions may get annoyed or really just don't care. You really have to get to know your boss, to feel them out in order to find what they like, and how comfortable they are going to be with helping you.
The cool thing is that even though you have uncertainties, the veteran employees do too. This allows you both to work through your uncertainties together and can hopefully help strengthen the bond.
It takes a long time to work through uncertainties. Some people get over them quicker and the working environment also makes a difference in how quick workers can adapt. When first on the job I would ask alot of questions and really get to know your management. Learning their style will help you gain their trust and could help you in future advancement. Dave Ledings lecture had a lot of these examples. His workers took awhile to become comfortable with his style because they were so used to a different style. Some people were weeded out and fired while others adapted and gained a friendship with Dave. His employees even played practical jokes on him cause they were comfortable with him and knew his tendencies.
Here is a little clip from the office when it comes to relational uncertainty. Through out most of seasons 1-6 everyone is fun and relaxed. But the introduction of Gabe lewis the Sabre representative has lowered the mood. Gabe is very uptight and doesn't like the practical jokes. This is where as a coworker you need to recognize this and leav an employee like this out of the jokes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTLtZHs5mgw