Higher Education

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 177-195

First online:

Organizational socialization and induction in universities: Reconceptualizing theory and practice

  • Paul TrowlerAffiliated withDepartment of Education Studies, University of Central Lancashire
  • , Peter KnightAffiliated withDepartment of Educational Research, Lancaster University

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This paper argues that the theory and practice of induction and socialization of new academic staff in universities have been based on a partial, corporatist, perspective influenced by now defunct structural-functionalist theory. We develop a more sophisticated theoretical understanding of organizational socialization and explore its consequences for the practice of induction of new academic staff. These ideas are based on secondary data derived from a number of studies of new academic appointees (NAAs), 27 in-depth interviews we conducted with academics in ten Canadian and English universities, both chartered and unchartered, and a five year ethnographic study of academic staff in a single unchartered English university.