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


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.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jwb.2020.101109
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Work & Organisational Psychology
College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School
Uncontrolled Keywords: Emotion,Identity,Migrants,Occupational downgrading,Sensemaking,Business and International Management,Finance,Marketing
Publication ISSN: 1878-5573
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: http://scienced ... 0377?via%3Dihub (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2020-06
Published Online Date: 2020-05-25
Accepted Date: 2020-04-15
Authors: Fernando, Dulini (ORCID Profile 0000-0003-3388-3308)
Patriotta, Gerardo

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