Executive Socialization in Small, Medium and Large Organizations

  • Solveiga Buoziute-Rafanaviciene Kaunas University of Technology
  • Tadas Sarapovas ISM University of Management and Economics
  • Petras Barsauskas Kaunas University of Technology
Keywords: executive, executive socialization, executive integration, executive succession, size of organizations


Executive succession is one of the most important events in organization, which has strong implications for future organizational performance.

According to the literature analysis, effective and successful socialization is mutually advantageous for organizations and for individuals. It is agreed that the successor's socialization process has an impact for future organizational performance success. Among the outcomes of successful socialization there are newcomer's job satisfaction, commitment to the organization, longevity in the organization, performance proficiency and some others. Application of socialization theory allows to foresee why some CEO successions lead to a change in an organization's strategic direction while others do not. However, how the socialization process differs in differently sized organizations still requires further discussions and elaborations.

The paper explores the stages of executive succession, executive integration process received as taking charge and socialization, and describes socialization outcomes. The authors revealed that a limited attention is paid to the analysis of executive's socialization differences in small, medium and large organizations.

The paper aims to identify the elements of executive successor's socialization process and explore how they differ in small, medium and large organizations.

After exploring the elements of executive socialization process, the conceptual model was developed. A quantitative research methodology was employed in order to identify the executive socialization differences in small, medium and large organizations. The survey was implemented in rapidly growing or/and most profitable Lithuanian organizations which experienced the CEO change within the last 3 years.

The results of the survey revealed that the success of executive socialization was moderate in all differently sized organizations. Socialization process in organizations received a rank mean from 7.41 to 7.81 and indicated that there was room for improvement.

However, the differences of executive's socialization process in differently sized organizations were revealed. In small organizations, proactive leadership effectiveness is higher than in medium or large organizations, i.e. newly appointed executives tend to more enhance their own transition experience. In a large organization, the selection and pre-hire planning process is better organized and implemented than in small and medium organizations. In medium size organization, selection and pre-hire planning, proactive leadership effectiveness and acculturation process received the lowest rank means comparing to small and large organizations.

The results of the survey allowed identifying the differences of socialization process in small, medium and large organizations and indicating the gaps for improvement. Therefore, further research should be carried out identifying the executive socialization improvement elements in the context of executive succession.