The word socialization refers to the numerous individual, community and societal interactions that shape how we behave, how we see ourselves and how we see the world. As such, recognizing processes and outcomes of socialization refers to our awareness of the influences of socialization in our lives and workplace interactions. To understand socialization, you may think of vegetables growing in a garden. When we plant a seed in the ground, there are some characteristics of that plant that will express wherever they are planted, regardless of their surroundings. However, for those of us who garden, we know that a number of factors influence how vegetables grow. Access to water and sunlight, the quality of soil, the nearby plants, and the tending of the gardener have a substantial influence on how vegetables grow. People are much the same. We both grow and are grown.

When we discuss socialization, we are not referring to the contents of the seed. We are referring to the surrounding conditions that have influenced our growth. While elements like water, sunlight and the tending of a gardener influence plants, as people we may consider how the teaching of our parents, the lessons we learned in school and the messages we have received through various forms of media have influenced us. And while the influence of gardening on plants may impact their lushness, size and fruitfulness, as people, the outcomes of socialization may be present in our values, worldviews and beliefs.

At Oregon State, recognizing the process and outcomes of socialization may look like faculty or staff members recognizing that our prejudices shape our interactions with others and our prejudices can negatively impact the quality of service, teaching or scholarship we provide. This may also look like recognition that each of us has the power to maintain harmful cultural norms through positive or negative reinforcements. Each of us plays a role every day in shaping one another.

Individually, learning in this dimension may look like increasing knowledge about our self and others, and how factors like power and privilege have shaped our worldviews. We may improve our ability to reflect, empathize and integrate new insights into our unique professional roles and also cultivate a sense of responsibility to positively impact our community.  When we learn together, we may create an organization that is more patient, understanding and caring for one another.


View Case Studies