How cynicism about organizational change can influence the effectiveness of socialization training: Sexual harassment awareness training as exemplar

Date of Completion

January 2005


Education, Adult and Continuing|Education, Guidance and Counseling|Psychology, Industrial




Most of the research done on organizational training focuses on training of specific job skills. However, many examples exist of training that does not target job skills, such as diversity training, sexual harassment awareness training, new employee orientation training, and workplace violence prevention. These types of training are dubbed socialization training, which I define as any kind of formal training where the organizational wishes to develop employees' social knowledge and skills to inform them about organizational climate and/or culture. Using sexual harassment awareness training as exemplar, I examined the effects of cynicism about organizational change on socialization training effectiveness. In Study 1, I found support for a model of antecedents and outcomes of cynicism about organizational change. More specifically, the data supported the agent-system model in that interactional and procedural justice were negatively related to each subscale of cynicism about organizational change, management and pessimistic, respectively. Further, both subscales of cynicism about organizational change were positive predictors of cynicism about sexual harassment awareness training, which in turn was negatively related to motivation for sexual harassment awareness training. Both cynicism about and motivation for sexual harassment awareness training were predictive of a variety of training outcomes, which included training satisfaction, knowledge about sexual harassment, sexual harassment myth endorsement, sexual harassment policy evaluations, and organizational tolerance for sexual harassment. In Study 2, cynicism about organizational change was conceptualized as a contextual factor. Workgroup cynicism about organizational change was shown to moderate the relationship between harassment policy exposure and harassment policy evaluations such that the positive relationship was attenuated for higher levels of workgroup cynicism. Combined, these studies show the importance of cynicism about organizational change as a factor influencing sexual harassment awareness training effectiveness. ^