Organizational Socialization, Staff Well-Being and Service Quality in a Hospital

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The purpose of this thesis is to examine the process of organizational socialization in hospital newcomers, and the effects of this process on their levels of well-being and service quality. Following a review of the literature, two original models of socialization are presented and then tested using a longitudinal mixed methods case study approach that includes quantitative and qualitative components. The models take a novel approach by viewing the psychological contract as the key mechanism through which communication and learning facilitate employee integration. The survey study revealed that during the first three months of socialization, proactively obtained useful information about the new environment led to an increase in perceived organizational promises, which in turn was related to better attitudes and well-being. Useful information provided by the organization led to an increased focus on service quality, but did not influence perceived promises. After twelve months, greater knowledge about the environment led to lower perceptions of violation, which in turn was associated with better attitudes, well-being and service quality focus. The interview study revealed that breach and fulfilment of the psychological contract, under certain circumstances, acted as turning points which caused a sharp change in well-being and service quality. Overall, there is broad support for the theoretical framework and for the role of the psychological contract as an intervening mechanism in the socialization process. Additionally, the findings suggest that socialization is not the smooth process towards integration that much previous work implies. In practical terms, the findings indicate that organizations must ensure that newcomers are provided with both functional and social information, that they are encouraged to ask questions and that existing insiders are encouraged to respond with useful information.
Date of Award2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorDavid Guest (Supervisor) & Stephen Deery (Supervisor)

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