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Our essay challenges an understanding of organizational socialization as a process whereby newcomers adapt to objectified organizational entities. To this end, we explore potential theoretical contributions of organizational institutionalism and related discourses on institutional logics, organizational hybridity, and organizational imprints. All of these perspectives support a concept of organizations as ‘moving targets’ in their relationship to dynamic environments. Accordingly, individuals such as newcomers can be positioned as active agents who engage in complex sense-making processes. However, institutionalism also has its shortcomings, as a deeper analysis of a seminal paper on organizational socialization in hybrid organizations reveals. We observe an ongoing commitment to an evolutionary adaptation paradigm, a paternalistic managerial attitude, and the denial of hegemonial market logics in organizations. In conclusion, we propose additional perspectives beyond institutionalism, which can further expand the theoretical landscape of organizational socialization research through independent and critical studies.
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