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The primary socialization received in childhood is just one part of the lifelong socialization process. Adults go through a process of resocialization, which is the learning of new norms and values that occurs when they join a new group or when life circumstances change dramatically. Learning new norms and values enables people to adapt, though newly learned things may contradict what was previously learned.

Though senility and certain diseases associated with old age can impair a person’s ability to learn and adapt to new situations, many adults experience change throughout life. A new job, the loss of friends or a spouse, children leaving home, and retirement are all milestones that require resocialization.

Most instances of resocialization are mild modifications, such as adapting to a new work environment. Extreme forms of the process can include joining the military, going to prison, or otherwise separating from mainstream society.

The Workplace

The workplace is an agent of socialization—in this case, resocialization. A new job brings with it new norms and values, including the following:

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