Organizational Assimilation Dynamics in a Global Organization Over Time

Emma Nordbäck, Maggie Boyraz

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleScientificpeer-review


The process of integrating new hires into their role and organization is crucial for employee performance and retention. While newcomers in co-located organizations can rely on face-to-face interaction to effectively gain tacit knowledge from co-workers, newcomers of global organizations may have to assimilate over distance and may face severe challenges. Considering that there is little knowledge on employee assimilation in a global work context, we conduct an inductive longitudinal case study of newcomer assimilation processes in a global organization over a two-year period. We observed and interviewed 48 newcomers and insiders (in total 92 interviews), to gain a nuanced understanding of the challenges faced by newcomers. Our results show how small expectation gaps at the entry point, may quickly escalate in a virtual assimilation environment where visibility of actions is low. More specifically, newcomers’ and insiders’ different perceptions on 1) the expected rate of assimilation (i.e. temporality dimension) and 2) the expected ways of working (i.e. reality dimension) created this assimilation expectation gap. Given the scarcity of face-to-face interaction among newcomers and insiders, this assimilation expectation gap grew larger over time, resulting in a negative spiral of dissatisfaction, conflicts and turnover, among a large proportion of newcomers."
Original languageEnglish
ProceedingAcademy of Management Proceedings
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)21912
Publication statusPublished - 29.07.2020
MoE publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings


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