Sink or swim: The challenges of (self-)socialisation for new MPs


Speaker:Professor Helena Cooper-Thomas, Auckland University of Technology
Date: Monday 25 June 2018
Time: 15:45 - 16:45
Location: Building One Pearson Teaching Room

Further details


During organisational socialisation, new employees are enabled to get up to speed in their roles through three sources of support: formal training provided by the organization; colleagues who informally provide information and assistance; and newcomers themselves who can behave proactively to develop an understanding and sense of belonging. Much research on organisational socialisation emphasises the role of the organisation and colleagues. However, when these sources of formal and informal support are not available, new employee must rely on their own resourcefulness. Moreover, organisations can be competitive environments, with new employees’ colleagues potentially jousting for favours and benefits, and thus reducing their enthusiasm for helping new employees adapt if it might threaten their chances of success. To better understand the socialisation of new employees in competitive environments with low support, our research centred on MPs entering New Zealand’s House of Representatives (“parliament”). Using an interview-based study, we investigated the experiences of new MPs after their first year in the role. The results show the highly individualised paths that new MPs took to figure out and fashion their new roles, as well as the tensions between taking action to be seen as actively contributing, versus not acting to avoid costly errors that reflected poorly on their party.



Dr. Helena Cooper-Thomas is Professor of Organizational Behaviour in the Faculty of Business Economics and Law at Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand. Her research focuses on employees’ relationships with their colleagues and employer. A core strand of this programme concerns new employee adjustment, also called “organisational socialisation”.  Dr. Cooper-Thomas has authored over 40 peer-reviewed international publications in journals including the Journal of Organizational Behavior and the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology. She has also contributed to a number of scholarly books, either as author, co-author or co-editor.  Dr. Cooper-Thomas is Senior Associate Editor on the Journal of Managerial Psychology, on the Consulting Editorial Board of the Journal of Business and Psychology, and a Senior Reviewer for the Journal of Organizational Behavior.  She also provides ad hoc reviews for various other journals (e.g., Administrative Science Quarterly) as well as reviewing for awards and grants (e.g., 2018 SIOP Chair of the William A. Owens Scholarly Achievement Award).