Research by Odell on Novice Employee Needs

Based on Odell’s Meta Analysis Research, 1986


This page presents the findings of a meta analytic research sudy by Odell (1986). The Odell analysis was of the statisically significant effects of mentoing and basic support found in more than 80 other research studies. What makes Odell’s findings so important are the diffeences in her study compared to that of Veenman (1984) on the same topic.

The Perceived Needs of New Managers(Odell 1986)


Perceived Problems Rank Order of Needs
Strategies for assessing & meeting client needs & increasing the desired results 1
Personal, emotional & professional support 2
Advice on locating and accessing resources and materials or equipment for improving work processes 3
Information on organizational policies, culture, and procedures 4
Better techniques to manage the work & subordinates 5

IMPORTANT NOTES – Interpreting These Two Studies:

  1. Odell’s (1986) meta analysis was similar to Veenman’s analysis (1984) in that BOTH were of a large number of research studies (more than 80) which had been done of new employee perceived needs, and BOTH wee done at a point near the end of the employees’ first year of employment.
  2. In contrast, Veenman’s analysis was of UNsupported new employees, while Odell’s (1986) meta analysis was of settings in which at least basic levels of mentoring and orientation support were provided.
  3. Comparison of these two major syntheses of research (Veenman and Odell) dramatically expands our understanding of the value of providing the support needed by new employees. Odell says that her rank order of needs clearly shows that for new employees to whom assistance has been provided, personal / survival needs have been eliminated and client / customer and results-oriented needs have become their most important focus.
  4. In contrast, for new employees to whom no assistance has been provided (Veenman), self-focused needs and those related to managing work tasks and subordinates predominate. Clearly, when no support is provided, new employees continue to struggle to effectively manage even their most basic responsibilities.
  5. Odell’s conclusion was that by offering new employees structured support in their early years, organizations help them diminish their self-focused and task-related problems. The result is that then, new employees, like veterans, are able to focus more on effectively addressing the needs of customers or clients and delivering the desired results expected by the organization for which they work.