Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

William B. Richardson


The success of the transition to work is affected by many factors, including the organization entry process itself. Research shows that the first year of employment is a critical time period and the organizational entry process is not dearly understood. The central focus of this study was to determine what exactly do new college graduates encounter as they enter the workplace, and does that experience affect their opinions and attitudes. Further, do women and African Americans have a similar or different experiences than white males in the transition process. An exploratory descriptive study of a random sample of Louisiana State University's May 1998 undergraduate graduating class was conducted to describe and analyze their transition from college to the workplace. Key research questions included demographic characteristics; the effectiveness of the preparation for the transition; perceptions of the organizational entry experience; opinions about their first job and the organization; their understanding of their organization's structure and culture; the extent to which their expectations about the job were met; the tactics and strategies they used to adapt; relationship with their supervisor and socialization tactics. The survey was mailed to 672 graduates approximately one year after graduation with 185 (28%) returned. Only those employed in a position appropriate for starting their career and employed in a business or for-profit organization were used in this study (N = 135). Data were factor analyzed using oblique rotation, and mean response were calculated for the scales identified. T-test were performed to compare the means of women and African Americans responses to that of white males on three scales; expectations, tactics and strategies and attitudes toward the job. Respondents generally reported positive transition experiences and satisfaction with their job and supervisor. Minorities differed from the majority in the tactics and strategies used in adjusting on the job and reported a lower level of job support than did the majority. Women reported a difference from men in the way they viewed their job. New college graduates reported a need for more internships and information on benefits and investments. Implications for university curricula and Human Resources programming were discussed.