Patterns of Medical Residents' Preferences for Organizational Socialization Strategies to Facilitate Their Transitions: A Q-study

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INTRODUCTION: To facilitate various transitions of medical residents, healthcare team members and departments may employ various organizational socialization strategies, including formal and informal onboarding methods. However, residents' preferences for these organizational socialization strategies to ease their transition can vary. This study identifies patterns (viewpoints) in these preferences.

METHODS: Using Q-methodology, we asked a purposeful sample of early-career residents to rank a set of statements into a quasi-normal distributed grid. Statements were based on previous qualitative interviews and organizational socialization theory. Participants responded to the question, 'What are your preferences regarding strategies other health care professionals, departments, or hospitals should use to optimize your next transition?' Participants then explained their sorting choices in a post-sort questionnaire. We identified different viewpoints based on by-person (inverted) factor analysis and Varimax rotation. We interpreted the viewpoints using distinguishing and consensus statements, enriched by residents' comments.

RESULTS: Fifty-one residents ranked 42 statements, among whom 36 residents displayed four distinct viewpoints: Dependent residents (n = 10) favored a task-oriented approach, clear guidance, and formal colleague relationships; Social Capitalizing residents (n = 9) preferred structure in the onboarding period and informal workplace social interactions; Autonomous residents (n = 12) prioritized a loosely structured onboarding period, independence, responsibility, and informal social interactions; and Development-oriented residents (n = 5) desired a balanced onboarding period that allowed independence, exploration, and development.

DISCUSSION: This identification of four viewpoints highlights the inadequacy of one-size-fits-all approaches to resident transition. Healthcare professionals and departments should tailor their socialization strategies to residents' preferences for support, structure, and formal/informal social interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-181
Number of pages13
JournalPerspectives on medical education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Humans
  • Socialization
  • Internship and Residency
  • Health Personnel
  • Hospitals
  • Workplace


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