Nardon, L., Hari, A. (2021) Transformation through Metaphors: Sensemaking through metaphors: The role of imaginative metaphors in constructing new understandings, International Journal of Qualitative Methods, Vol 20 (1-10).

Abstract

Drawing on in-depth interviews with exchange and international students during the COVID-19 pandemic, we elaborate on the role of Imaginative Metaphor Elicitation (IME) to generate knowledge about participants’ experiences while helping them make sense of and cope with a difficult situation. Imaginative metaphors allow participants to explore feelings, assumptions, and behaviors in non-threatening ways and facilitate introspection and self-awareness. We propose that imaginative metaphors help participants make their experience tangible and accessible, identify problematic assumptions, behaviors, as well as resources available to them. Some reported gaining a renewed sense of empowerment. Simultaneously, IME provides an opportunity to collect rich data while co-creating solutions for and with participants. We contribute to calls for embedding social impact in the research design by highlighting the value of IME in gaining deeper access to participants’ experiences while supporting them in taking an active role in their situations.

Nardon, L., Hari, A., Zhang, H., Hoselton, Liam P.S., Kuzhabekova, A. (2021) Skilled immigrant women’s career trajectories during the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal

Abstract

Purpose

Despite immigrant-receiving countries’ need for skilled professionals to meet labour demands, research suggests that many skilled migrants undergo deskilling, downward career mobility, underemployment, unemployment and talent waste, finding themselves in low-skilled occupations that are not commensurate to their education and experience. Skilled immigrant women face additional gendered disadvantages, including a disproportionate domestic burden, interrupted careers and gender segmentation in occupations and organizations. This study explores how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic impacted skilled newcomer women’s labour market outcomes and work experiences.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors draw on 50 in-depth questionnaires with skilled women to elaborate on their work experiences during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Findings

The pandemic pushed skilled immigrant women towards unemployment, lower-skilled or less stable employment. Most study participants had their career trajectory delayed, interrupted or reversed due to layoffs, decreased job opportunities and increased domestic burden. The pandemic’s gendered nature and the reliance on work-from-home arrangements and online job search heightened immigrant women’s challenges due to limited social support and increased family responsibilities.

Originality/value

This paper adds to the conversation of increased integration challenges under pandemic conditions by contextualizing the pre-pandemic literature on immigrant work integration to the pandemic environment. Also, this paper contributes a better understanding of the gender dynamics informing the COVID-19 socio-economic climate.

Nardon, L., Zhang, H., Szkudlarek, B., Gulanowski, D. Identity work in refugee workforce integration – the role of newcomer support organizations, Human Relations

How does professional employment support provided by newcomer support organizations (NSOs) influence highly-skilled refugees’ professional identities and workforce integration? To answer this question, we draw on interviews with 25 managers and staff of NSOs in Canada and 11 recently arrived, highly-skilled refugees. We contribute to the literature on refugee workforce integration by shedding light on the dynamic process of employment support in which NSOs engage in sensegiving practices and influence refugees’ understanding of career options, assessment of opportunities, and their professional identity responses. We found that NSOs attempted to manage refugees’ expectations of career opportunities while fostering hope for the future and that refugees reacted to NSOs’ sensegiving practices by resisting expectation management messages, recrafting a new identity, or bracketing the present as transitory. We highlight the role of external agents in sensemaking and identity work by exploring work role transitions caused by forced migration. Furthermore, we uncover the dynamics of power and contextual constraints that influence sensegiving interactions. From a practical point of view, we argue that in the absence of quality employment opportunities, the reliance on refugees’ resilience and their motivation for long-term professional integration may further marginalize them.

Lee, E., Szkudlarek, B., Nguyen, D., Nardon, L. Unveiling the canvas ceiling: a multidisciplinary literature review of refugee employment and workforce integration, International Journal of Management Reviews

Increasing levels of displacement and the need to integrate refugees in the workforce pose new challenges to organizations and societies. Extant research on refugee employment and workforce integration currently resides across various disconnected disciplines, posing a significant challenge for management scholars to contribute to timely and relevant solutions. In this paper, we endeavour to address this challenge by reviewing and synthesizing multidisciplinary literature on refugee employment and workforce integration. Using a relational framework, we organize our findings around three levels of analysis – institutional, organizational and individual – to outline the complexity of factors affecting refugees’ employment outcomes. Based on our analysis, we introduce and elaborate on the phenomenon of the canvas ceiling ‒ a systemic, multilevel barrier to refugee workforce integration and professional advancement. The primary contributions of this paper are twofold. First, we map and integrate the multidisciplinary findings on the challenges of refugee workforce integration. Second, we provide management scholarship with a future research agenda to address the knowledge gap identified in this review and advance practical developments in this domain.

Moffitt, U., Nardon, L., Zhang, H. Negotiating Identity and National Belonging in the Public Sphere: Narratives of High-Skilled Work, International Journal of Intercultural Relations

Abstract

We investigate how economic immigrants in Canada negotiate their identity in the process of “becoming Canadian” through an analysis of public texts. Drawing on the master narrative framework, we examine the interplay between individual and societal narratives as immigrants grapple with the tension between notions of “desirable” immigrants as those that are well integrated professionally and the reality of facing career related barriers. Among those whose success stories align with the master narrative of professional attainment there was little questioning of this expectation, thereby allowing it to remain invisible. Among those who had not (yet) achieved work related success in the receiving country, they tended to engage alternative narratives elaborating on the antecedents, outcomes, and barriers to labor market participation. Despite the countering nature of these alternative narratives, they strengthen the societal expectation of professional success as a key pathway to inclusion, thereby reinforcing the rigidity of this narrative. We contribute to literature on the social construction of national identity by examining the process of becoming national and the role of labor market participation in immigrants’ perceptions of inclusion in their new society. Our study highlights the importance of including immigrants’ voices in the construction of a more inclusive society, which may aid in breaking down exclusionary narratives of national identity.

 

Szkudlarek, B., Nardon, L. Osland, J., Adler, N. J., & Lee, E.S. When context matters: what happens to international business theory when researchers study refugees, Academy of Management Perspective

Abstract

The overwhelming number of refugees in the world today constitutes a major socio-economic and political challenge. With more than 50 years of scholarship on global mobility, International Business (IB) should be well positioned to address this challenge. Yet the field’s historic emphasis on expatriates has resulted in dominant assumptions and perspectives that are not relevant for other groups moving across borders. Empirical path dependence has caused significant conceptual blindness. Focusing primarily on expatriates who, in fact, represent an extreme case of international transitions, has resulted in conceptualizations of international adjustment that are partial and incomplete. These conceptualizations overly rely on individual- and organizational-level factors at the expense of critical macro-level factors. Extending the domain of IB scholarship by examining the contrasting extreme case of refugees opens up the field to new theorizing and a broader, more accurate conceptualization of international adjustment. Studying the international adjustment of refugees exposes previously taken-for-granted assumptions and generates insights that will allow IB as well as general management scholars to develop more robust theories and urgently needed practical interventions.

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Nardon, L., Aten, K. 2016. “Making sense of a foreign culture through technology: Triggers, mechanisms, and introspective focus in newcomers’ blog narratives”, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 54: 15-20.

Abstract

This study explored the blogs of newcomers to Canada to investigate the role of blogging in newcomers’ efforts to make sense of a foreign culture. We describe the phenomenon of sensemaking in blogging and identify triggers, mechanisms, and introspective focus of cultural sensemaking in newcomers’ blogs. Our study contributes to research on intercultural learning by supporting the argument that blogs are a promising site for intercultural studies. We also extend this discussion by demonstrating that sensemaking in and through blogging is an important phenomenon deserving study as a research subject and showing that (1) newcomers use blogs to make sense of discrepancies triggered by experiences, observation of patterns and temporal milestones, (2) newcomers make sense through self-debating, making comparisons to the home country, sequencing, and reflecting on information-gathering, and (3) bloggers focus introspection during sensemaking on their thoughts and emotions.
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Aten, K., Nardon, L., Isabelle, D. 2016 “Making sense of foreign context: Skilled migrant’s perceptions of contextual barriers and career options”. International Journal of Cross-Cultural Management, 16(2): 191-214.

Abstract

This study amplifies understanding of the occupational marginalization of skilled migrants by elaborating the role of cognition in skilled migrants’ perception of contextual barriers and career options. Our qualitative analysis of interviews with 13 Filipino engineers who migrated to Canada revealed that migrants’ perceptions are influenced by their mobility frames. We identified three cognitive mobility frames: migrant, migrant professional, and mobile professional. We found that migrants accessed local interpretations of contextual barriers through interactions in the situational context and that migrants’ mobility frames focused their attention on particular individual resources and characteristics of context, suggesting potential career options.
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Nardon, L., Aten, K., Gulanowski, D. 2015. “Expatriate Adjustment in the Digital Age: The co-creation of online social support resources through blogging”, International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 47: 41-55.

Abstract

Support provided through social contacts in the host environment has long been recognized as critical for expatriate adjustment. Internet technologies are changing the way individuals form and interact with social contacts and access social support. These technologies have the potential to offer expatriates new sources and means for accessing social support. We investigated the role of blogging technology in expatriates’ adjustment to foreign environments through a qualitative analysis of a set of blogs written by foreign individuals living in Canada between 2005 and 2012. We found that the blogging system, which is comprised of the blogging technology, bloggers, discussants, and co-created digital discourse, generated online adjustment support resources which were accessed by expatriates. Online adjustment support resources are social support resources, created and residing online, which may help expatriates deal with their experiences of uncertainty, ambiguity and anxiety and include information, interpretation schemas, and comfort.
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