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Induction

 

Explanations > Groups > Induction

Description | Discussion | See also

 

Description

When a person joins a group, they first go through an induction process, whereby they transition from being a non-member to an accepted and trusted member with rights appropriate to their position within the group.

The induction often takes the form of a ritual, with defined patterns of action. This can be quite relaxed and informal, for example just being taken around and introduced to people, or it may be more formal, for example in organizations where there is specific training that must be completed. Other groups may have  ceremonies to mark the arrival and acceptance of the new member.

There is often a 'trial period' during which the new person is observed and must prove themselves worthy of their position of membership. This can include carefully planned tests of such characteristics as ability and loyalty. For example a street gang may require new members to commit a bold crime and submit to being beaten hard by senior gang members.

Once they have been found able and worthy, there may be some celebration or further ritual of acceptance, which can range from bestowing of symbols to going out together and getting drunk.

Discussion

When a person starts to join a group they may be called an applicant, supplicant, entrant, newbie or some other term to mark this initial position. They are not fully fledged or fully accepted members. Even though there may have been interviews, checking of references and research into their past, it is not yet proven that they will fit into the culture of the group. This is a particular reason for training and trials that allow the person to both learn and prove themselves.

The formality of the induction process typically reflects the potential for betrayal. If the new member could do harm significant harm to the group then the group needs to be extra sure that they will be loyal. The group also will want to ensure the new member will add more value than they consume, contributing to the net success of the group.

When people join a group or team, it takes time for them to get up to speed. This is not just in learning the job but also integrating socially, an important factor in which is acceptance by the other members of the group. A successful induction speeds this process and reduces the chance of failure. This is one reason why organizations put significant effort into induction of new people into both the company and their team.

A failed induction means that the person may well leave the group, either because they continue to find it difficult and leave of their own accord, or they are ejected by the group. Of course when either of these happens, the person blames the group and the group blames the person.

See also

Selection, Performance Management

 

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