Developing the pre-employment schema: The significance of information about the workplace and emotional support from friends and family

Kathryn Fonner*, Michael Roloff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose – Economic insecurity has had a major impact on employees; however, much less is known about its relationship to the expectations of individuals as they prepare to enter the full-time professional workplace. This study aims to focuss on relationships between negative workplace information and emotional support communicated by social networks and the development of undergraduates' pre-employment schemas. Design/methodology/approach – A survey of university upperclassman was conducted, resulting in a sample of 153 participants. Correlations and linear regressions were used to test hypotheses. Findings – Results indicated that the emotional support undergraduates receive from parents and employed friends is more strongly related to their workplace expectations than the specific information they receive regarding downsizing, the faltering economy, and job insecurity. Research limitations/implications – Data were collected using self-report surveys. Future research should examine “non-traditional” undergraduates who may have greater work experience and exposure to the workplace. Further exploration of work-related discussion content, and whether it differs across cultures, is also warranted. Originality/value – This study offers insight into the relationship between interpersonal discussions about the workplace ‐ and specifically emotional support during those discussions – to undergraduates' pre-employment schemas. Study results contribute uniquely to the socialization literature by confirming the crucial role of friends as sources of information and emotional support during later stages of the anticipatory socialization process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)212-231
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Organizational Analysis
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 21 2008


  • Employment
  • Employment protection
  • Socialization
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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