Beware of “Where I used to work, we ….” — It may be a sign of poor fit, low motivation.

Topic: Staffing, Selection, Recruiting, Motivation
Publication: Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology (83)
Article: Disengagement in Work-Role Transitions
Authors: C. Niessen, C. Binnewies, J. Rank
Reviewed By: Lauren A. Wood

Employees are no longer linked to an organization for life, and as a result, there has been an increase in job change in recent years. Researchers studying employees’ adjustment to a job change have suggested that in order to succeed, the new employee must detach or disengage from the previous job and organization.  This is especially critical when the employee is psychologically attached to their previous work place and/or work role as is typically the case when the employee has worked in their previous role for a long period of time.   

Results from the current study reveal that the more the new employee’s psychologically attachment to their old work-role remains after taking the new job, the less motivated they are to pursue learning in the new position and the less they feel they fit with the new company.  However, when an employee actively disengages from their previous job-role, the employee experiences greater perceptions of fit and is more motivated to engage in learning activities on the job.

So, if you are staring anew in an organization and/or a job position, actively work to disengage yourself from your previous organization and past job responsibilities. Instead, concentrate on learning the new organization’s culture, climate, and your role in the company’s goal attainment process. Organizations can aid new employees’ adjustment by ensuring that they select employees that will be a good fit in the company. One way this can be accomplished is by use of a realistic job preview.

Neissesn, C., Binnewies, C., & Rnak, J. (2010). Disengagement in work-role transitions. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 83, 659-715.