Since we are children , first the parents and later the schools, teach us a series of values ​​and norms that will help us to function successfully when we carry out some social interaction. This learning process is what is called socialization and it will depend , to a large extent, on the way in which an individual will develop in society.

What is socialization?

Socialization is the process by which a person throughout his life is learning and assimilating , thanks to social agents, all those sociocultural aspects of the place in which he lives .

  • Definition
  • Function
  • goals
  • Theories of the socialization process
  • Types
  • Norms of socialization
  • Values ​​of socialization
  • Social agents
  • Legal socialization
  • Group socialization
  • Gender socialization
  • Differentiated socialization
  • Organizational socialization process
  • Socialization of the productive forces
  • Importance of the socialization process in children
  • Importance of the socialization process in adolescence
  • Authors
  • Example


We can define socialization as the process by which the different social agents instill in an individual , during the development of his life, a set of norms, customs and values of the place in which he develops in order that his social integration is exit.



The main function of socialization is to teach us how we should behave within a group and in a given social situation . We will not behave in the same way when we are at our job as at a company dinner, equally, our behavior at a family meal will be different from what we would have if dinner were with friends. Thus, thanks to socialization, a person will know how to function successfully in the different situations of their day to day.


Socialization has two main objectives, these are:

  • Facilitate social coexistence: it is about the person knowing how to behave and adapt to different social realities. Learning the language, culture, and social norms of your environment will be essential for this goal to be met.
  • Facilitate community development: this is achieved when the person accepts what will be their role within society.

Theories of the socialization process

There are four different theories about the socialization process . These come from four different streams of thought and have representatives such as Piaget, Freud, Zander or Rocher . They are as follows:

  • Symbolic interactionism: defines man as a social being that thanks to social interaction acquires a function within society. This theory tells us that language is what allows us to interact within a social group and is therefore the element that allows the development of the human personality. Jean Piaget is the main representative of this theory.
  • Psychoanalytic movement: theory expounded by  Sigmund Freud and his students . It has a biological approach by stating that heredity is a fundamental factor in the socialization process. Despite this, it also attaches great importance to external influences such as those from parents.
  • Behavioral school: it is based on rewarding those people whose behaviors are appropriate and punishing those who behave in the wrong way. Thus, it allows the development of positive social behaviors for the community.
  • Theory of the models: so called because it understands that the socialization process is based on the imitation of models. For this theory, which considers the human being a great imitator, the difficulty will lie in the model we have since it will depend on whether the result is a success or a failure.
  • Moral education as socialization: it is a contemporary theory proposed by  Emile Durkheim. This theory defends that moral education is the process by which an individual is forced to accept the norms and values existing in a society.


Currently there are three forms or types of socialization . These will depend on both the age of the person and the social agent who will teach us to socialize.


Primary socialization takes place in one’s own family . This occurs during the individual’s childhood, so it will establish a foundation that will be affected mainly by socioeconomic factors such as income, educational level or the values ​​of the parents. We must emphasize the great importance of primary socialization because it is here when the first contacts with other people begin to emerge and the first relationships begin to be forged .

High school

Secondary socialization is that which begins with the incorporation of the child to the academic world. It takes place in educational institutions such as the school or institute. Here the child already has a certain base and it will be expanded with successive teachings. Little by little you will acquire new communication skills as well as norms or values ​​that cannot be learned at home. Your ability to socialize will thus improve and it will cost you less effort to adapt to different realities such as joining the world of work.


Regarding tertiary socialization we must distinguish two variants:

  • The one that affects people who reach old age: in this case, retirement usually implies great changes both in relationships, since those of a work nature are put aside, as in routines, so a new process of learning.
  • The one that affects people who must be reinserted: it is carried out by social agents such as social educators, psychologists, psychiatrists or doctors and is aimed at people who have shown criminal behavior or who have committed infractions.

Norms of socialization

The norms are those rules that regulate the way in which a person can behave, as well as the way in which he relates to other people . These rules can be of two types:

  • Explicit norms: it refers to the laws that are established by the different governments.
  • Implicit norms: contrary to explicit norms, they are not formulated laws but guidelines of behavior established in a social group such as the way of dressing or manners.

Values ​​of socialization

The values ​​that a person has acquired will influence their behavior and attitude towards certain events. It is therefore of great importance in the socialization process. Ten of the values ​​that most influence this process are:

  • Respect.
  • The Solidarity.
  • The cultural identity.
  • The honesty.
  • The sincerity.
  • The responsability.
  • The loyalty.
  • Love.
  • The tolerance.
  • Thankfulness.

Social agents

The socialization process is possible thanks to the different social agents that exist . Each of these will have a vital importance in each of the stages of our life. Let’s see what they are:

  • Family: acts as a social agent throughout the individual’s life. During the first years of life it has a primary function in laying the pillars of socialization.
  • School: when the child attends school, he will not only acquire new knowledge but will also continue with his social training. Here you will be able to create new relationships and learn to function in new environments, away from family protection, thus improving your ability to adapt.
  • Media: although they are present throughout the life of the person, they reach a greater importance during the adult stage . The media inform us but they also alter our opinion and our perception of society, even modifying our values.
  • Social educators, doctors and psychologists: they have a presence in stages such as old age or when a person commits infractions and needs to be reeducated.
  • Peer groups: they are friends, co-workers, classmates, among others. The formation of these groups can vary although in many cases they remain throughout life. They are usually people of a similar age, united by ties of friendship and common interests.

Legal socialization

Legal socialization is understood as the process by which a person is acquiring knowledge of the rules and laws that govern the behavior of the people of their region as well as the repercussions that may have in case of not acting in a correct way. Therefore, he discovers the functioning of the legal system and develops a legal identity while his role in the family is changing, becoming more and more independent.

The process of legal socialization covers the stages of childhood and adolescence .

Group socialization

In a group of friends there are usually certain shared norms and values ​​that it is important that everyone knows and respects to avoid friction between the different members . When a new member joins a group, its members will try to make it learn what behaviors it must follow in order to be accepted as one more. This learning process is what is called group socialization and consists of 5 stages or phases :

  • Investigation:
    • Group conduct: Recruit the new member.
    • New Member Behavior: Recognize the group.
  • Socialization:
    • Group behavior : the group tries to make the new member adapt to its behavior and values ​​in order to accept it.
    • Behavior of the new member: the new member tries to modify some of the behaviors and values ​​of the group to adapt them to his personality.
  • Maintenance:
    • Group Conduct: Gives the new member a role in the group.
    • New Member Behavior: Accept the assigned role
  • Resocialization:
    • Group behavior: the group has assimilated the new member.
    • Behavior of the new member: they feel comfortable and find their place within the group.
  • I remember:
    • Group behavior: traditions are created.
    • Behavior of the new member: memories of experiences in the group arise.

Gender socialization

It refers to the process by which children internalize the behaviors, values ​​and beliefs of a society and do so based on their gender . Thus, attitudes such as boys or girls are identified and in this way gender roles emerge . This gender socialization begins when the child is aware of his gender and begins to imitate models of the same gender. The consequences of this will be immediate and the child will begin to treat people differently depending on their gender and in some cases discrimination problems may arise .

Differentiated socialization

It is similar to the previous one but in this case the child from birth incorporates the values, attitudes and behaviors that will define their gender identity . This process develops thanks to the relationships that we maintain with other people and its development continues throughout the individual’s life.

Organizational socialization process

The process by which the workers of a certain company acquire the values, as well as the attitudes and behaviors that the same demands . This is usually achieved by establishing norms and by the influence exerted on the person by co-workers. Thanks to organizational socialization, the worker will be aware of the role they have to play and how they should behave at all times.


In the process of organizational socialization, three stages can be distinguished:

  • Anticipatory socialization: it can be said that it is the previous stage, since it is both the learning and the experiences that an individual has before joining the organization.
  • Encounter: the individual joins the job, meets his new colleagues and begins learning the tasks he will have to perform, will acquire new skills and develop a specific role.
  • Change and acquisition: over time you will acquire the necessary skills for your position and little by little you will internalize the business culture of the organization.


In the process of organizational socialization there are four different stages:

  • Acceptance of organizational reality: conflicts can arise here between the values ​​of the person, their expectations and the organizational culture.
  • Acquisition of the role: the person assumes their tasks and interpersonal relationships with other employees begin to be forged . At this stage, it is essential to overcome resistance to change.
  • Position within the business context: the person begins to act in a way to end the organization. It also begins to integrate its culture and its values ​​align with those of the organization.
  • Detection of indicators of success of the process: both parties are satisfied and the commitment and motivation of the worker increase.


  • Induction: it is the starting point. The process by which a member begins their socialization process in the company . It is about the employee obtaining all the information they need to carry out their work and know their role in the company.
  • Orientation: here the new employee is informed of the importance they have for the organization . In addition, you are provided with essential information about vacations, medical or restaurant services, as well as the duties and obligations that you will have.
  • Maintenance: you will be informed of the changes that arise, your work will be monitored, as well as personal interviews to find out your personal situation and inform you of your performance.


To achieve success in the organizational socialization process, the following methods can be applied:

  • Guiding colleagues: they will introduce the most important aspects of the organization to new employees.
  • Weekly meeting: in this way the work will be better organized and the integration of the employees will be improved.
  • Involve employees in the achievements: in this way, they make them feel important to the organization.
  • Putting a coffee machine: this creates a meeting point where employees can interact with each other.
  • Events – A great way for employees to socialize, a company dinner or a casual outing will strengthen relationships.
  • Newsletters: they will provide employees with information about the organization.

Socialization of the productive forces

The socialization of the productive forces the fact that the production of a product or service is increasingly a more social process in which multiple workers participate . And not just workers, because to develop a product requires the intervention of multiple companies, many times from different industrial branches. In addition, the product will target a growing group of consumers in a growing geographic area.

Importance of the socialization process in children

The process of socialization is something that has a vital character in children. Thanks to this process the child will know how to communicate, he will overcome his shyness, he will choose his friends appropriately, he will learn to resolve conflicts , to adapt to changes, to work in a team and to collaborate when someone needs help and will even manage to control his impulses by leaving aggressiveness aside.

Importance of the socialization process in adolescence

At this stage of a person’s life and thanks to the socialization that occurs mainly within the group of friends and with the support of the family and the institute, important aspects such as ideals, self-assessment or professional motivation are developed.


The main authors and scholars of the socialization process are:

  • Lev Vygotsky
  • Jean piaget
  • Max weber
  • Emile Durkheim
  • Sigmund Freud


  • The values ​​acquired by a child born in Japan , another born in Spain and another born in England are completely different, so the way they will socialize with others will be different. For example, in Spain two people, a boy and a girl, who have just met greet each other with two kisses, in Japan they bow and in England they shake hands.

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