The present research focused on newcomers' socialization process in a three-wave study among 1477 newcomers from seven Western (mainly European) countries. Based on previous research, we expected that unmet expectations regarding selected intrinsic work aspects would have adverse effects on work outcomes such as worker motivation for learning, effort, and turnover. Further, we expected that the strength of the effects of unmet expectations would vary as a function of the perceived importance of the work aspects in question. Structural equation modeling supported our expectations regarding the adverse effects of unmet expectations. However, the strength of these relationships did not depend on the importance attached to the work aspects. Instead, workers who attached much importance to particular work aspects reported higher levels of effort and a higher motivation for learning new behavior patterns. Further, newcomers tended to consider work aspects for which their expectations were not met as less important across time. We conclude that unmet expectations affect work outcomes both directly and indirectly, through the importance attached to particular work aspects. © 2006 Blackwell Publishingh Ltd,.