Sub-theme 21: Migration and the Meaning of Inclusion

Kyoung-Hee Yu
University of New South Wales, Australia
Jelena Zikic
York University, Toronto, Canada

Call for Papers

This sub-theme continues the conversation started in a previous sub-theme (EGOS Colloquium 2015) on migration, work, and organizations. We focus on a ‘grand challenge’ that has emerged as one of the crucial unresolved problems of our time – the peaceful and productive co-existence of migrants and other members of organizations and societies (e.g., Roder & Muhlau, 2014). Our increasingly global workplace continues to face daily challenges to integrate growing numbers of migrants seeking meaningful work in host societies. Organizations here include workplaces, not-for-profit organizations, activist organizations, as well as political and other democratic bodies. Migrants are professionals, entrepreneurs, factory-workers, front-line service workers, and refugees.
Few issues are as contentious as migration in politics and policy circles, yet within organization studies migration has been dealt with in far less emotive tones, cloaked in the rhetoric and practice of ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’ (Dietz et al., 2015). Yet the ethical and practical tensions surrounding legitimate self-expression at work (Roberts, 2005; Roberts et al., 2014), social interaction and inclusion (Ayub & Jehn, 2006), as well as equal treatment and opportunity, pose real dilemmas for organizations seeking to do ‘Good’. For example, if the Good Organization is seeking ‘to produce profit, efficiency, and competitiveness’, we address the equally important aspirations of becoming ‘inclusive’ and valued places to work where diversity can be the foundation for innovation, creativity, and building and sustaining positive work relationships (Zikic, 2015). We hope to provide a site for conversation and trigger critical evaluation of existing struggles to be ‘good’ towards increasingly diverse talent (ibid.). How can organizational actors balance sustained competitive advantage on the one hand while seeking to create meaningful jobs, and healthy and inclusive workplaces on the other? How are micro-foundations, such as individual identities, impacted by organizational contexts, such as organizational identities, diversity management practices, and the quality of jobs for migrant workers (Yu et al., 2015; Zikic & Richardson 2015)?
We seek to continue to galvanize organizational scholars in examining the antecedents, processes, and outcomes of migration for individuals, organizations, and societies. We welcome inter-disciplinary approaches to these issues, as well as discipline-based work from such fields as management, sociology, psychology, political science, and philosophy. All methods of inquiry as well as theoretical papers are encouraged.
Questions that might be addressed by papers in this sub-theme, by no means exhaustive, include:

  • What constitutes Good vs. Bad Organizations in the host societies? What are the characteristics (e.g. size, sector, location, demographic diversity, leadership) predicting Goodness in inclusiveness?
  • What organizational practices and processes characterize Good Organizations with respect to migrant inclusion (Nishii, 2012)?
  • Decomposing inclusiveness: meanings, antecedents and outcomes.
  • How can political processes contribute to or jeopardize integration (Østergaard‐Nielsen, 2003)?
  • What role does civil society play in dealing with the grand challenge of social and economic integration? How do social movement organizations and NGOs condition the process of integration for refugees and economic migrants (Bloemraad et al., 2010)?
  • What is the role of immigrant communities, including diaspora networks in supporting and/or demanding inclusion (Yu, 2014)? What are the relational and social capital foundations of Good Organizations (Sanders et al., 2002) as well as ‘Good Societies’?
  • How do changes in institutions such as education, workplace discrimination and equal opportunity laws, and welfare-to-work impact inclusion?
  • What is the role of organizations that bridge and mediate the migration process, such as recruiters, credentialing organizations, legal firms, and hosting and sending country governments?
  • What are the lived experiences of migrant workers, and how are they reflected in the meaning they attach to inclusion (Yu, 2016)? How do migrants navigate the labor market, and what are career and work outcomes for individuals and groups?
  • Bridging the micro-macro divide: how do societal and institutional processes impact the Good Organization and migrants themselves?



  • Ayub, N., & Jehn, K.A. (2006): “National diversity and conflict in multinational workgroups – The moderating effect of nationalism. International Journal of Conflict Management, 17(3), 181–202.
  • Bloemraad, I., Voss, K., & Lee, T. (2011): “The protests of 2006: What happened, how do we understand them, where do we go?” In: K. Voss & I. Bloemraad (eds.): Rallying for Immigrant Rights: The Fight for Inclusion in 21st Century America. Berkeley: University of California Press, 3–43.
  • Dietz, J., Joshi, C., Esses, V.M., Hamilton, L.K., & Gabarrot, F. (2015): “The skill paradox: explaining and reducing employment discrimination against skilled immigrants. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 26 (10), 1318–1334.
  • Nishii, L. (2012): “The Benefits of Climate for Inclusion for Gender-Diverse Groups.” Academy of Management Journal, 56 (6), 1754–1774.
  • Østergaard‐Nielsen, E. (2003): “The politics of migrants’ transnational political practices.” International Migration Review, 37 (3), 760–786.
  • Roberts, L.M. (2005): “Changing faces: Professional image construction in diverse organizational settings.” Academy of Management Review, 30 (4), 685–711.
  • Roberts, L.M., Cha, S.E., & Kim, S.S. (2014): “Strategies for Managing Impressions of Racial Identity in the Workplace.” Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology, 20 (4), 529–540.
  • Roder, A., & Muhlau, P. (2014): “Are They Acculturating? Europe's Immigrants and Gender Egalitarianism.” Social Forces, 92 (3), 899–928.
  • Sanders, J., Nee, V., & Sernau, S. (2002): “Asian immigrants’ reliance on social ties in a multiethnic labor market.” Social Forces, 81 (1), 281–314.
  • Yu, K.H. (2014): “Organizing immigrants: meaning generation in the community.” Work, Employment and Society, 28 (3), 355–371.
  • Yu, K.H. (2016): “Immigrant workers’ responses to stigmatized work: Constructing dignity through moral reasoning.” Journal of Industrial Relations, published before print on April 5, 2016,
  • Yu, K.H., Kim, S., & Restubog, S. (2015): “Transnational contexts for professional identity development in accounting.” Organization Studies, 36 (11), 1577–1597.
  • Zikic, J. (2015): “Skilled Migrants Career Capital as a Source of Competitive Advantage: Implications for Strategic HRM.” International Journal of Human Resource Management, 26, 1360–1381.
  • Zikic, J., & Richardson, J. (2015): “What happens when you can’t be who you are: Professional identity at the institutional periphery.” human relations, 69 (1), 139–168.
Kyoung-Hee Yu is a Senior Lecturer at UNSW Business School, Australia. Kyoung-Hee’s research examines the impact of institutional and organisational changes on work and employment. Her recent research has examined the influence of commitments to social causes – such as environmental or social justice – on the employment relationship. Kyoung-Hee’s research also addresses the impact of international migration on the careers of individual migrants as well as implications for diversity and inclusion in organisations. Kyoung-Hee serves as book review editor and editorial board member of ‘Organization Studies’, and has been an active member of EGOS since 2006.
Jelena Zikic is an Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director at York University, School of Human Resource Management, Canada. Her program or research centers on career transitions of diverse populations (e.g., unemployed, entrepreneurs, baby boomers, migrants) stress and coping. Currently, she is studying labour market integration of foreign professionals and cross-cultural mentoring relationships. Her work appeared in journals such as ‘Journal of Organizational Behavior’, ‘Human Relations’, ‘International Journal of HRM’, ‘Human Resource Management Journal’, ‘Journal of Managerial Psychology’, and ‘Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology’, among others. She has been an active member and convening at EGOS since 2001.