In China, rural-to-urban migrant workers who are from the same place of origin tend to concentrate in the same workplace. If the concentration is sufficiently dense, it means that these migrant workers build up a social network which could be defined as native place enclave (NPE). In this paper, the authors discussed whether there are behavioral differences between enclave workers and non-enclave workers when they have conflicts with their employers.
The authors put two questions to empirical tests. First, do enclave workers experience less sense of deprivation than non-enclave workers? Second, compared to non-enclave workers, are enclave workers more willing to participate in collective action against their employers? Using data from a survey of migrant workers in Pearl River Delta and Yangzi River Delta in 2010, the authors made a comparison between enclave workers and non-enclave workers with respect to sense of deprivation and willingness-to-participate by using a propensity score matching method.
The authors found that the relationship between NPE and sense of deprivation was negative, so was the relationship between NPE and willingness-to-participate. Meanwhile, the two relationships were stronger than what had been found after the propensity score matching method was used.
The results implied that employers can reduce labor conflicts by using NPE to mitigate migrant workers’ sense of deprivation and by lowering the risk of their collective actions. In this way, NPE may contribute to the upkeep of workplace order and even social order.
There have been hot debates on how NPE would affect migrant workers’ collective action. Resource mobilization theory pointed out that NPE was positively related to workers’ collective action while production politics theory held an opposite view. Our findings provided empirical evidences for the debates.
Wei, W. and Gao, W. (2018), "Positive or negative? The role of native place enclave in the conflicts between migrant workers and their employers", International Journal of Conflict Management, Vol. 29 No. 5, pp. 570-590. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCMA-09-2017-0107Download as .RIS
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