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Careers of skilled migrants: towards a theoretical and methodological expansion

Akram Al Ariss (Champagne School of Management, Troyes, France)
Iris Koall (Department of Educational Science and Sociology, University of Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany)
Mustafa Özbilgin (Brunel Business School, Brunel University, London, UK)
Vesa Suutari (Faculty of Business Studies, University of Vaasa, Vaasa, Finland)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 3 February 2012




The careers of skilled migrant workers is an under‐theorised field of research. This paper proposes a theoretical and methodological expansion of studies of careers of skilled migrants.


The paper offers a critical review of the literature on careers of skilled migrants from a multilevel approach including individual, organizational, and contextual levels.


The review leads to two key theoretical and methodological expansions: first, it demonstrates that migrant careers need to be understood as a relational construct that is at the interplay of individual and institutions and as a multi‐layer and multi‐faceted phenomenon. This approach requires the authors to explore careers in temporal and spatial contexts. The second expansion made requires the adoption of relational methodologies, as well as more reflexive methods which encourages researchers to recognize a wider range of vested interests when framing their research questions and designing their studies.


This paper has two key values: first, it questions the central assumptions in the management and organizational literature regarding the topic of international mobility; second, it offers a theoretical and a methodological model for future research on this topic.



Al Ariss, A., Koall, I., Özbilgin, M. and Suutari, V. (2012), "Careers of skilled migrants: towards a theoretical and methodological expansion", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 31 No. 2, pp. 92-101.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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