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Theorizing Career Success for Low Status Migrants

We use qualitative research to build and enrich theory on the career success construct of Low status migrants (LSMs). This is an important category of the workforce in many MNEs in, for example, the transport, hotels and construction industries, but is often overlooked in international business research. We find that, despite some similarities, the theory of motivation to integrate that applies to highly qualified immigrants needs to be adjusted to enable understanding of the career success of LSMs. We introduce ‘imposed change’, ‘fate/ religion’, and ‘community networking’ into the theory, finding that LSMs cope with the constraints of imposed change through a combination of fate/ religion and self-determination/ self-efficacy, leading, with the support of community networking, to settlement and career success. We draw conclusions about the value of understanding the possibilities as a means of improving management in the relevant sectors.


Low status migrants; theories of career success; imposed change; religion/ fate; community networking; loci of control

Published on 23rd October 2020
Authors Professor Chris Brewster
Series Reference JHD-2018-02