Individuals' role perceptions are central guides to their behavior and choices as members of an organization. Understanding organizational dynamics thus requires knowledge about the determinants of such role perceptions, as well as whether—and when—organizations can influence them. This article brings forward a theoretical framework allowing for both prerecruitment (extraorganizational) and post-recruitment (intraorganizational) determinants of individuals' role perceptions, and examines its empirical implications using a large-N data set of temporary officials in the European Commission. We find that intergovernmental and epistemic role perceptions are strongly linked to pre-recruitment factors (such as educational and professional background), whereas postrecruitment factors (such as length of affiliation and embeddedness within the Commission) are the main driving force behind supranational and departmental role perceptions. This heterogeneity in the importance of pre- and postrecruitment factors for distinct role perceptions has important consequences for conceptualizing organizational change.
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: How pre- and postrecruitment factors shape role perceptions of European Commission officials, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gove.12269. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.