The role of dispositions, entry stressors, and behavioral plasticity theory in predicting newcomers' adjustment to work

Alan M. Saks, Blake Ashforth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

70 Scopus citations

Abstract

This longitudinal field study examined the combined effects of dispositions, entry stressors, and behavioral plasticity theory in predicting newcomers' adjustment to work after four and 10 months of organizational entry. Recent graduates completed a questionnaire prior to entry that measured two dispositions (negative affectivity and general self-efficacy), and a questionnaire four months after entry that measured four entry stressors (role conflict, role ambiguity, role overload, and unmet expectations). Measures of work adjustment were taken after four and 10 months. Based on behavioral plasticity theory, it was expected that the effects of the entry stressors would be most negative for the adjustment of newcomers with low general self-efficacy. Limited support was found for behavioral plasticity theory. Those interactions that were significant indicated that increasing levels of role conflict were associated with lower organizational commitment and identification for newcomers with low general selfefficacy. The results also provided weak support for a dispositional theory of work adjustment. The dispositions only predicted three of seven adjustment variables at four and 10 months. However, the entry stressors significantly predicted all seven adjustment measures. The results are discussed in terms of the predominant role played by the organizational setting in predicting newcomers' adjustment to work.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-62
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2000

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology(all)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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