This summary is provided by the IPR Organizational Communication Research Center
Many new employees (newcomers) use social media to understand their organization and accelerate their integration into it. However, the effect of the intensity of social media usage on newcomer socialization—the process through which newcomers acquire the knowledge, skills, behaviors, and attitudes needed to integrate into the organization—has been neglected in the literature. To fill this gap, researchers investigated the relationship between social media usage and newcomer socialization. Research has indicated that the effect of social media usage on newcomer socialization outcomes is contingent on employee motivation. Therefore, the authors also examined the potential moderating effect of utilitarian motivation—employees’ perception that using social media for work is useful and effective—on the relationship between the intensity of social media usage and newcomer socialization.
An online survey that included a total of 238 respondents between 18 and 26 years old working in the human resources field with less than one year of experience was conducted on WeChat. WeChat is one of the largest and most popular social media platforms used by newcomers to communicate with their colleagues and leaders in the Chinese workplace.
1. The study indicated that the intensity of social media usage had a positive impact on performance proficiency.
2. The intensity of social media usage was positively related to interpersonal relationships.
3. Interpersonal relationships are positively related to performance proficiency.
4. The relationship between the intensity of social media usage and performance proficiency was stronger for newcomers with high utilitarian motivation than for those with low utilitarian motivation. Similarly, the relationship between the intensity of social media usage and interpersonal relationships was also stronger for newcomers with high utilitarian motivation. Thus, from the perspective of new employees’ psychological motivation, this study shows the positive effect that utilitarian motivation has on the relationship between the intensity of social media usage and newcomer socialization.
Implications for practice
Organizations should 1) be aware that more intense social media usage can promote newcomer socialization; 2) encourage new employees, senior employees, and managers to actively use social media in their work, and provide a harmonious social and interactive environment through social media in which employees and managers are encouraged to share job-related information; and 3) guide employees to use social media to collect job-related information and communicate with their colleagues and leaders, thereby cultivating the appropriate motivation to use this tool.
Author(s), Title and Publication
Cai, D., Liu, J., Zhao, H., & Li, M. (2020). Could social media help in newcomers’ socialization? The moderating effect of newcomers’ utilitarian motivation. Computer in Human Behavior. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2020.106273
Location of Article
This article is available online at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563220300297?via%3Dihub(abstract free, purchase full article)