“Us versus them”: Sensemaking and identity processes in skilled migrants’ experiences of occupational downgrading

Dulini Fernando, Gerardo Patriotta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (SciVal)

Abstract

We examine how a group of highly-skilled migrants from Sri Lanka made sense of occupational downgrading associated with their career transition to the UK. Our findings highlight three distinct sensemaking narratives that enabled the migrant employees to develop a more positive identity in the face of occupational downgrading. While all the narratives followed a similar cognitive pattern, one that represented the occupational world in terms of a cultural opposition between ‘us’ and ‘them’, the choice of a particular sensemaking narrative was shaped by the organisational context in which the migrant employees were embedded. In particular, the migrant workers’ emotional experiences within their new organisation influenced the way in which they discursively framed the ‘us versus them’ relationship. We contribute to the international migration literature by theorising how sensemaking links identity to migrants’ occupational experiences in new organisational contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101109
JournalJournal of World Business
Volume55
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020

Keywords

  • Emotion
  • Identity
  • Migrants
  • Occupational downgrading
  • Sensemaking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Finance
  • Marketing

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