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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Asia Business Studies, Volume 5, Issue 1
The US think tank, Hudson Institute, coined the term, “global workforce 2000”, to refer to the growing mobility of people worldwide. Countries that have received many immigrants from different parts of the world can benefit from the presence of these immigrant communities because of their special knowledge and connections with their country of origins (COO). The concept, “immigrant effect“, refers to the impact that an immigrant employer or employee has on the success of international business operations that pertain to the immigrant’s COO.
To advance our understanding of the immigrant effect, the special issue, entitled “Immigrant effect and international business management“, offers a set of new insights to research concerning immigrant effect and managing across international boundaries. In total six papers are included in this special issue. Collectively, they offer fresh perspectives on the subject and, in so doing, contribute to the literature.
The article, by Peter Enderwick, Rosalie L. Tung and Henry F.L. Chung, offers a comprehensive review of strategic issues related to migration and different types of international business activities. Specifically, these authors probed the relationships pertaining to migrants, trade, outsourcing, foreign direct investment (FDI), knowledge flows, remittances, employment and diaspora. This opening article has demonstrated how immigrants have facilitated international business transactions across countries. The unique knowledge that immigrants possess and immigrants’ contribution to the conduct of international business transactions are outlined in this paper. In addition, this paper posits several research frameworks on the relationships between immigrant effect and international business management activities – these relationships could be empirically verified in future studies.
The second article, by Majid Ghorbani, compares and contrasts two different modes of acculturation of immigration, namely the “melting pot” scenario in the USA vis-à-vis “multiculturalism” in Canada. Using a gravity model and panel data analysis to analyze the role of immigrant effect at both the national and regional levels, this paper concluded that the immigrant effect in a multicultural setting (as in the case of Canada) does not work as well as the “melting pot” scenario in the USA. The author attributed this finding to the misalignment of Canadian government’s foreign and trade policies with its immigration policies. This study has contributed to the literature by revealing that the impact of immigrant effect on international trade might be country-specific; thus suggesting the need for future research to be conducted in different countries and settings.
The third article in this special issue, by Christopher Selvarajah and Eryadi Masli, complements the two earlier papers by shedding light on the concept of clustering. Specifically, their paper examined both mature and newly evolved natural ethnic entrepreneurial business clusters in Melbourne, Australia. Using a case study approach, Selvarajah and Masli analysed the development of two Chinatown clusters in Melbourne by identifying the key characteristics of immigrant entrepreneurs and their likely reasons for success. Based on their study, the authors present an ethnic business cluster formation model that emphasizes the interaction among social, economic and political factors. This study has contributed to our understanding of immigrant effect by examining the role of “ethnic entrepreneurial business cluster”.
The fourth paper, by Loong Wong and Henriett Primecz, examines how the immigrant effect has facilitated the internationalization and entry of Chinese firms into Hungary and Central Europe. Their paper sheds light on Chinese immigration in Budapest and the migrants’ understanding of their own position in relation to the Chinese diaspora. This paper also discusses the interaction of the local economy and resources of the Chinese immigrants to form viable network communities. The ideas of market embeddedness and the critical role of market opportunities are critically evaluated in the context of local practices. In this paper, the authors have demonstrated that globalization has spawned “new” transnational spaces and enabled immigrant Chinese entrepreneurs to thrive and grow their businesses. This study has added significant new insights to the research concerning immigrant effect, transnational networking and Chinese diaspora. In addition, this paper represents one of a small handful of studies that sheds light on immigrant effect in Central and Eastern Europe.
The fifth paper in the special issue, by Peter Enderwick, asserts that firms, particularly small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that seek to internationalize, are typically presented with a variety of options to acquire information about their target markets. These include public information agencies, overseas missions and fairs, export intermediaries, diaspora relationships, knowledge agreements, strategic alliances and business acquisitions. Some of these options, however, are either too costly or unlikely to yield the volume and specificity of knowledge required for effective internationalisation decisions for SMEs. The two most viable options that often result in effective knowledge creation at an acceptable cost are the use of expatriates and immigrant employees. Enderwick critically assessed and evaluated these two options and their effectiveness in enabling the acquisition of requisite knowledge, thus facilitating the conduct of international business activities. This study has contributed to our understanding of immigrant effect and international business management by focusing on the potentials of knowledge transfer by immigrant employees, an important alternative for acquisition of new knowledge.
The final paper, by Greg Clydesdale, examines the effect of New Zealand’s immigration policies on attracting foreign human capital. Clydesdale’s research suggests a large gap between the government’s assessment of human capital and the value placed on that capital in the market. At the same time, it shows that unskilled immigrant groups are forming an under-class (e.g. a lower-income class/group). The paper reveals a cultural mismatch, i.e. it takes many years for incomes for immigrants from dissimilar cultures to converge with those of locals and immigrants from culturally similar countries. For unskilled immigrants, the mismatch occurs in education with implications for economic outcomes. In contrast to the situation in Silicon Valley where high-tech immigrants, albeit from ethnically diverse backgrounds, contribute to economic growth, Auckland has not benefitted as much. This study highlights the need to more clearly distinguish between economic “leading” and economic “followers”. The former represents immigrants that develop markets, create new forms of value or processes that add value and reduce costs while the latter denotes those who are attracted to a region because of its economic growth. The arrival of the latter group in a location might increase diversity, but it does not necessarily contribute to economic growth. The findings of this study points to the need to consider both the “positive” and “negative” aspects of immigration – in other words, in order for the recipient country to benefit fully from the immigrant effect, it has to attract the right kind of immigrants.
Collectively, the six papers included in the special issue have shed new insights on immigrant effect, a topic that has gained increasing importance in the literature in light of the growing ethnic diversity in many countries. Hopefully, the ideas and findings presented in these papers will generate further research on the subject. We want to thank all the people who have contributed to the success of the special issue, including the encouragement and support of the editors-in-chief, Roger (Rongxi) Chen and Nicolas Tay, those who submitted papers to the special issues and those who gave their time unsparingly to review the manuscripts and provide constructive feedback to the authors.
Rosalie L. Tung, Henry F.L. Chung
Henry F.L. Chung (PhD, University of Waikato, New Zealand) is senior lecturer in marketing at Massey University Albany campus. His main research interests include immigrant effect, international marketing-decision making governance, international standardisation strategies, social networking and cross-cultural management. He has published in journals such as European Journal of Marketing, International Business Review, Journal of International Marketing, International Marketing Review and Asia Pacific Journal of Management.Rosalie L. Tung is a chaired Professor of International Business at Simon Fraser University. She is a past President of the Academy of Management and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Academy of Management, and the Academy of International Business. She has published 11 books and over 80 articles on the subject of international management.