The construction of social identity in newly recruited nuclear engineering staff : a longitudinal study

Nguyen, Linda, Murphy, Glen D., & Chang, Artemis (2014) The construction of social identity in newly recruited nuclear engineering staff : a longitudinal study. Reliability Engineering & System Safety, 131, pp. 14-28.

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Abstract

This study examines the process by which newly recruited nuclear engineering and technical staff came to understand, define, think, feel and behave within a distinct group that has a direct contribution to the organization's overall emphasis on a culture of reliability and system safety. In the field of organizational behavior the interactive model of social identity formation has been recently proposed to explain the process by which the internalization of shared norms and values occurs, an element critical in identity formation. Using this rich model of organizational behavior we analyzed multiple sources of data from nine new hires over a period of three years. This was done from the time they were employed to investigate the construction of social identity by new entrants entering into a complex organizational setting reflected in the context of a nuclear facility. Informed by our data analyses, we found support for the interactive model of social identity development and report the unexpected finding that a newly appointed member's age and level of experience appears to influence the manner in which they adapt, and assimilate into their surroundings. This study represents an important contribution to the safety and reliability literature as it provides a rich insight into the way newly recruited employees enact the process by which their identities are formed and hence act, particularly under conditions of duress or significant organizational disruption in complex organizational settings.

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ID Code: 72265
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Social Identity Construction, Nuclear Engineers, Safety Cultures, New Entrants, Deductive, Inductive, Norm Internalization
DOI: 10.1016/j.ress.2014.05.007
ISSN: 0951-8320
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Human Resources Management (150305)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Organisational Behaviour (150311)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Management
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 Elsevier
Copyright Statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Reliability Engineering & System Safety. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Reliability Engineering & System Safety, [in press] DOI: 10.1016/j.ress.2014.05.007
Deposited On: 01 Jun 2014 23:03
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2016 16:17

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