With the cultivation of culture and the building of many societies, communication is something everyone does. Before we are able to speak or even understand words, the symbolism in nonverbal expression has enabled us to adapt to our environments.
Regardless of what language you speak, each person socializes. When we look at how cultures are preserved throughout time and pass down from generation to generation, we must acknowledge that socialization plays a powerful role. Even the “cavemen” had their means of communicating.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to socialization as socialization is merely an exchange. The importance of socialization lies in how we interact with other people or even how we understand our experiences.
The agents of socialization help us to determine and also understand how external factors contribute to how we interact with others. These agents will be discussed further in the next section. However, first, think about how you would interact with others when you a child. If you compare those interactions to those interactions you experience as an adult, there’s likely a very noticeable difference.
What is Socialization?
Socialization is both an activity and a process. As it concerns Sociology, Socialization is the process of being social with others and internalizing those social experiences as ideologies and normalities.
Socialization occurs in many avenues of a person’s life. For example, the main forms or agents of socialization are family, school, peers, government, media, religion, work, ethnic background, and social groups/clubs. Within each of these domains have their own specialized ideas and beliefs. These beliefs shape much of how we perceive our human experience and even how we treat others.
Does your culture or religion hold practices that encourage you to socialize a particular way? Although handshakes seem to be a universal means of greeting a person, other areas have different ways of greeting each other. In fact, a harsh handshake is considered rude in some Middle Eastern countries. Something as seemingly simple as shaking a hand can mean improper handshake etiquette and can even leave a bad first impression.
Think about how some of your traditions or societal norms impact how you view the world and communicate with others. In socialization, one teaches and also learns. This may be done simultaneously or at different times. This learning is done between you and your agents of socialization. You can also teach those aspects as well. School teaches us things like grammar, rules, codes of conduct, and much more. Our peers can impress things upon us such as preferences, trends, etc. Even our sense of morality and ethics are heavily influenced by our social experience.
The 5 Types of Socialization
In Sociology, there are 5 main types of socialization. These types of socialization are primary, secondary, developmental, anticipatory, and resocialization. However, we’ll just discuss a few of them for starters.
1. Primary Socialization
This phase of socialization begins from the day we’re born. In this stage, our families are major contributions to our fundamental understandings of how to interact with others. Most importantly, it is here where we learn to speak. Most, if not all of our social learning at this point is channeled through the experiences we have with our families or witness them having. However, this stage can often be intercepted by things like the media/internet, which can impact a child’s values in a major way.
The developmental stage is often one filled with trial and error. However, those experiences all add more data to our arsenal of socialization. Here, we decide which skills we want to get rid of or which skills we want to improve to take our socialization to new heights. Through applying, one implements their social skills in society.
This is the stage where one’s social skills are developed and optimized to the society, culture, or ideologies in which they grow up in. They understand how to socialize with society as a style is developed, allowing more developed socialization to be habitual.
With the maturation of one’s socialization, styles now begin to change as one seeks to reject the ideologies and habits developed in the previous stages. This usually occurs after new social experiences outside one’s normal agents of socialization. A person may interact with diverse individuals, considering new forms of thought, and developing new social skills. We not only have empathy for others but can allow ourselves to perceive perspectives we might’ve not formally agreed with or even given thought to.
What is the importance of socialization in early childhood?
In short, as we grow up, we experience more in life and come in contact with new people. This exposure gives our brains new data to assimilate. This information is then archived, allowing us to draw from when forming our opinions, judgments, understandings, perceptions, and even resolutions. We already see how children begin to mimic an adult’s behavior very early on.
According to Jean Piaget’s schema of cognitive development, assimilation internalizes external occurrences on an organism (a child in this case) while accommodation happens when the child adapts to a certain environmental occurrence.
Our childhood experiences have a direct link to our adulthood relationships and dating type. This is why socialization has a major impact on early childhood development. In fact, if a child were to grow up in a verbally abusive household, there is more of a likelihood that this means of socializing will be adopted.
You may look at how you resolve conflicts or express how you feel. Do your social skills mimic those of your parents’ in any way? Another example is growing up where feelings weren’t a topic of discussion. One may not talk about their feelings because their parents were not emotionally available. Thus, they will likely not have the social skills to communicate their emotions effectively. Instead, they have internalized other, more unhealthy habits. These habits and social skills can stick with a person into their adulthood until they go through a stage of resocialization.
Importance of Socialization in School
Socialization in school includes adapting social skills like listening, comprehension, humility, respect, codes of conduct, and more. Good social skills will play a role in how we proceed in group projects, take teachers’ constructive criticism, and build interpersonal relationships within that environment. Schooling makes up about a quarter, if not more, of a person’s life. Whether elementary school or college, socialization is a requirement. We go to school to assimilate new information and develop social skills.
It’s in school where we first learn the importance of working as a team, receiving feedback, and making corrections. This kind of gives us a guideline for socializing in more “formal” settings. For instance, it’s almost a universal understanding or belief that it’s disrespectful to talk while the teacher is talking.
How socialization impacts personality development?
Our social experiences, especially those we have very early on in our development, has an impact on our sense of self. Why? This is because we internalize the ideologies and beliefs within our environment. Much of who we are is dependent on our culture, traditions, education, family, religion, political beliefs, and more. It allows us to place a level of importance on some things and less of an importance on others. Also, it’s how we form our preferences and prejudices. What is normal in one environment could be completely taboo in another. Socialization could be influence by the standards imposed by your society.
While we aren’t necessarily our looks or our political affiliation, many people attach these concepts to their identity. Thus, when internalized, it makes up a huge part of who they consider themselves to be as a person. Through exposure and consideration, one may choose to change their beliefs and thoughts. Thus, their habits change, and ultimately their personality undergoes changes as well.
Why the family is so important to the socialization process?
As stated before, the family is so important to the socialization process because these are the first people we are around when we’re born. These are the individuals that we are likely to mimic. Through the primary stage of socialization, we begin our natural process of assimilating and accomodating data within our brain. Assimilation and accommodation are fundamentals for adapting. More dynamic social skills are now unlocked with the constant evolutionary process of socialization. We often carry many of these social habits into our adulthood which can play out in conflict resolution, romantic relationships, work relationships, and how we interact within our communities.
The Importance of Socialization in HRM
According to Swiss-American Psychologist Edgar Schein and Professor Van Maanen’s Theory of Organizational Socialization, “What people learn about their work roles in organizations is often a direct result of how they learn it.” Much like any form of socialization, organizational socialization within HRM is sometimes a process of trial and error. Not only must you adapt to the formal expectations and occupational demands of your work environment but you must also adapt to subcultures. This involves learning to interact with your colleagues who may have different ideologies or work traditions. Not only must you teach and learn, but you must learn to collaborate with your peers.
Socialization is involved in every part of our experiences whether we’re the one learning, teaching, or both. Though we may not remember all of our social experiences, we do archive the information we receive from each interaction. These experiences, added to our personal reservoir of data, allow us to build interpersonal relationships and collaborate with others in a respectful way.
The importance of socialization is in the very exchange, where we always have the opportunity to gain a new perspective and understanding. As our understandings resocialize, our personal development evolves, letting us become more adaptable to whatever environment we find ourselves in.