Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Permeable Socialization Flow and Hacker Code Switching Practice: A Metacognitive, Situated Approach
by DiGiovanni, Frank Christopher, Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2018, 283; 10977668
Abstract (Summary)

The new economy, which is information-centric, enabled by the computerization of business, social, and communication tools, and globally scaled by networking technologies, is fueling high rates of workforce mobility. Careers are shorter and more diverse, with individuals flowing sequentially from organizational socialization episode to episode, at a rapid pace, into different cultures, even cultures that may be in conflict with each other.

To expand our understanding of this phenomenon my study examined the plasticity of human socialization. It focused on the practices that enable individual, situated socialization flow between organizations. I chose “chameleon” hackers who adaptively flow between hacker and corporate InfoSec socialization episodes for my study population.

I used qualitative methodology to study this situated socialization phenomenon and modified grounded theory to build my theoretical models. Using practice theory with habitus as a sensitizing concept and life course theoretical orientation, my study examined the processes that constitute the situated socialization practice used by my informants which they call “code switching.” I used autoethnographic case studies from my participation in five hacker conventions that spanned over 4 years, semi-structured interviews with 17 highly accomplished and corporately socialized chameleon hackers, and archived data sources.

My study identified that my informants possess seven core internal habitus attributes that are essential to the accomplishment of hacker work tasks. These core attributes do not vary as the organizational socialization episode varies. My informants’ code switching consists of a reflexive habitus adaptation practice that is cued to their situated socialization flow and guided by the same five phases hackers use to execute a hack. When plotted over time, these episodes form a unidirectional chain of socialization over their lifetime. My chameleon hacker informants use metacognitive strategies framed by an empathetic stance to reflexively adapt an outward facing set of habitus attributes to achieve socialization congeniality with the situated organization. This cued socialization flow is catalyzed by the potential for an exchange of economic or social capital or the award of symbolic capital between the organization and the chameleon hacker. The chameleon hacker also uses a similar metacognitive strategy to enter a state of flow to accomplish individual-based hacker work tasks.

This study expands the unit of analysis for organizational socialization to include what happens before and after a socialization episode and begins a theoretical conversation on the “how to” of adaptive reflexive habitus practice.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Michel, Alexandra A.
Commitee: Kaminstein, Dana, Kay, Alan C.
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Chief Learning Officer
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 80/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social research, Sociology
Keywords: Empathy, Hacker, Metacognition, Mobile workforce, Organizational socialization, Reflexive habitus
Publication Number: 10977668
ISBN: 978-0-438-76274-9
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