Exploring career advantages of highly skilled migrants: a study of ...

6 downloads 10 Views 349KB Size Report
Aug 21, 2015 - the multiple fields that agents belong to. However ... Keywords: Bourdieu's theory of practice; career; highly skilled migrants; international.

The International Journal of Human Resource Management

ISSN: 0958-5192 (Print) 1466-4399 (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rijh20

Exploring career advantages of highly skilled migrants: a study of Indian academics in the UK Weerahannadige Dulini Anuvinda Fernando & Laurie Cohen To cite this article: Weerahannadige Dulini Anuvinda Fernando & Laurie Cohen (2015): Exploring career advantages of highly skilled migrants: a study of Indian academics in the UK, The International Journal of Human Resource Management, DOI: 10.1080/09585192.2015.1072101 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2015.1072101

Published online: 21 Aug 2015.

Submit your article to this journal

Article views: 128

View related articles

View Crossmark data

Full Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/action/journalInformation?journalCode=rijh20 Download by: [University of Nottingham]

Date: 02 February 2016, At: 02:20

The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 2015 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09585192.2015.1072101

Exploring career advantages of highly skilled migrants: a study of Indian academics in the UK Weerahannadige Dulini Anuvinda Fernandoa* and Laurie Cohenb Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK; bNottingham University Business School, Jubilee Campus, Nottingham, UK

Downloaded by [University of Nottingham] at 02:20 02 February 2016

a

We draw on Bourdieu’s theory of practice to examine a group of Indian academics’ accounts of their careers in a research-intensive university. Using the concepts of habitus and capital, we argue that international staff are very well placed to craft a career in the increasingly market driven UK academic context, challenging the discourse of disadvantage associated with the careers of international academics as well as other highly skilled migrants. Central in our analysis is the transferability of capitals between different fields and the importance of understanding capital as part of the multiple fields that agents belong to. However, drawing attention to the changing rules of the research-intensive university system, we also suggest that these academics’ career trajectory may not continue to yield positive results. Keywords: Bourdieu’s theory of practice; career; highly skilled migrants; international academics

Introduction Globalisation coupled with technological advances has resulted in an increased demand for specialised labour (King, 2002; Mahroum, 2001) leading to highly skilled migration from less to more economically developed countries. The dominant consensus in the literature is that migrants are disadvantaged in their careers (Almeida, Fernando, & Sheridan, 2012; Salaff, Greve, & Ping, 2002; Turchick hakak & Al Ariss, 2013). While a few notable studies highlight the career benefits migrants enjoy due to factors such as ¨ zbilgin, 2013), continuing links to their countries of origin (Sang, Al-Dajani, & O sponsorship from their ethnic communities in the West (Al Ariss & Syed, 2011; Raghuram, Henry, & Bornat, 2010) and strong motivation to achieve (Zhou, Jindal-Snape, Topping, & Todman, 2008), there does not seem to be enough evidence to challenge the overriding discourse of disadvantage. In this article, we examine this debate through a study of Indian academics’ careers in a research-intensive university in the UK. Universities around the world are recruiting across national boundaries in line with their internationalisation agendas (Hsieh, 2012). International recruitment is extremely important to many universities because they seek to target the best academic staff (Montogomery, 2012): those with potential to publish in top journals and with sufficient energy and enthusiasm for the full portfolio of academic work (Metcalf, Rolfe, Stevens, & Weale, 2005). In 2009/2010, full-time, international academic staff constituted 27% of academic appointments in the UK universities (HESA, 2011). However, the pervasive view in the limited available literature is that these staff lack certain linguistic, professional and cultural skills (Green & Myatt, 2011). Thus, there appears to be an invidious situation in which on the one hand international academics are being used to fill

*Corresponding author. Email: [email protected] q 2015 Taylor & Francis

Downloaded by [University of Nottingham] at 02:20 02 February 2016

2

W.D.A. Fernando and L. Cohen

shortfalls in the home labour market, but on the other they lack some of the attributes required to be successful in this sphere. The reality is that this is a rapidly changing context and we know very little about how it is experienced by situated individuals. Using Bourdieu’s theory of practice to explore a group of Indian academics’ career accounts, we aim to develop our understandings of (1) the distinct capitals international academics possess and/or lack and how they mobilise these capitals to enhance their positions (2) international academics’ career habitus and its resulting career benefits and/or drawbacks. Given the scope and scale of highly skilled workers’ cross-border movement, it is crucial for international HRM scholars to move beyond deficit models and barriers to develop richer understandings of how people utilise their resources and culturally influenced frameworks of thinking and action to achieve success. The dominant discourse within the majority of published material on highly skilled migration (Almeida et al., 2012; Salaff et al., 2002; Turchick hakak & Al Ariss, 2013) constructs migrants as a group with significant shortfalls and limitations. In order to develop appropriate policies and career development interventions, HRM scholars and practitioners need to better understand the strategies people deploy to achieve their goals and the extent to which these are socially and culturally mediated. Otherwise they end up simply reinventing the wheel, providing blanket forms of support which may not be needed, and neglecting more specific and potentially more effective interventions. In what follows we will first review the literature on highly skilled migration, highlighting limitations of extant understandings, and then move on to studies which specifically focus on international academics. Next we will explain our use of Bourdieu’s (1984) theory of practice as a conceptual framework and provide details of our methodology. Our findings highlight Indian academics’ mobilisation of ‘ethnic capital’ and their ethnicized career habitus. Based on the evidence presented, we argue that international academics are well placed to craft a career within the current market driven UK academic context, challenging the general discourse of disadvantage associated with highly skilled migrants’ careers. Highly skilled migrants’ careers The dominant focus of the highly skilled migration literature is macro issues such as brain gain, brain drain (Ackers, 2005), brain circulation (Varma, 2007), talent flow (Carr, Inkson, & Thorn, 2005) and remittances (Baruch, Budhwar, & Khatri, 2007). However, researchers have begun to highlight the constraints faced by highly skilled migrants as they attempt to establish themselves and advance in their new occupational settings. In the International Journal of Human Resource Management, Salaff et al. (2002) draw attention to how national policies and structures inhibit migrants from accessing jobs (see also Bauder, 2003) while Almeida et al. (2012) show how migrants are often subject to discrimination in organisational recruitment, selection and career advancement. Such discrimination, they argue, is usually based on migrants’ group identity, including cultural background, ethnicity, names and religion. Published material in other outlets likewise highlights how highly skilled migrants are severely disadvantaged in career mobility. For example scholars suggest that, when they first started arriving in the UK, South Asian doctors were severely disadvantaged in their access to jobs, career mobility and high status specialties (Kyriakides & Virdee, 2003; Raghuram et al., 2010). Years later, RamboarisonLalao, Al-Ariss, and Barth (2011) found that Malagasy doctors in France are still offered jobs that are incommensurable with their qualifications. Outside the medical profession, Al Ariss and Syed (2011) draw attention to the underemployment of highly skilled

Downloaded by [University of Nottingham] at 02:20 02 February 2016

The International Journal of Human Resource Management

3

Lebanese migrants in France. Migrants are reported to be ethnically marked (Coker, 2001; Robinson & Carey, 2000), encountering discrimination (Van laer & Janssens, 2011) and facing legal barriers to employment (Al Ariss & Syed, 2011; Inkson & Myers, 2003; Syed, 2008). Furthermore, regulatory agencies often devalue or discount credentials and experience from countries of origin (Zikic, Bonache, & Cerdin, 2010) and host employers perceive migrants as lacking the necessary cultural resources such as linguistic skills (Kamenou, 2008). In a recent article in IJHRM, Turchick hakak and Al Ariss (2013) urge scholars to take an embedded, relational view of the challenges encountered by migrants. From this perspective, constraints emanating from national context, networks, employment relationships and individual acculturation should be seen as fundamentally intertwined, creating a dense web in which people attempt to manoeuvre. While the literature points to a dominant picture of obstacles and constraints, a few studies go further, illustrating how people respond to these impediments. For example, Raghuram et al. (2010) shows how, because they were unable to progress in high status specialities (see also Goldacre, Davidson, & Lambert, 2004), South Asian doctors sought refuge in the less popular speciality of geriatric medicine, becoming influential figures in this fledging field. Other research highlight how highly skilled South Asian migrants draw on the transnational social capital of family members and their ethnic communities (Harvey, 2008; Smith & Nicolson, 2007) to secure short-term jobs. In their investigation of Lebanese migrants noted above, Al Ariss and Syed (2011) draw attention to how wellestablished, extended family members and community referrals offer material and moral support to compatriots. Notably, individuals are often unable to access permanent posts or high status specialties through their ethnic communities because the most desirable fields are dominated by patronage networks which operate in favour of non-migrants (see Raghuram et al., 2010). A third perspective provides insights into the character strengths of highly skilled migrants highlighting in particular high motivation (Frieze, Hansen, & Boneva, 2006), willingness to work extra hard (Ravitch, 2002) and adaptability (Zikic et al., 2010). In an attempt to synthesise these perspectives, in a recent conceptual article in IJHRM Zikic (2015) draws on intelligent career theory and the resource-based view theory to develop a framework which defines the ways that local employers may leverage skilled migrants’ career capital. The framework describes the ways in which to attract and integrate skilled migrants into organisations. While the above studies provide valuable insights into the career experiences of migrants, highlighting advantages enjoyed alongside barriers, the majority of evidence so far still portrays rather gloomy prospects for highly skilled individuals who cross national boundaries in pursuit of career development. While a few notable non-empirical studies like Zikic’s (2015) have started to provide more positive assessments, our understandings are still lacking in contextualisation. We address this increasingly important and underresearched area through a study of Indian academics attached to a leading, researchintensive university in the UK. Academia is a particularly interesting sector to investigate this issue because in line with their internationalisation agendas universities are increasingly recruiting across global boundaries. Furthermore, the wider context of UK academia is currently undergoing many changes leading to competing demands made upon incumbents. Careers of international academics In international HRM, academia is a relatively under-explored sector. However, the limited literature on international academics’ careers (published mainly in higher

Downloaded by [University of Nottingham] at 02:20 02 February 2016

4

W.D.A. Fernando and L. Cohen

education journals) is likewise divided into a dominant view which highlights significant challenges and an emerging view which also recognises career advantages. With regards to the former, language is seen as the most significant source of stress for new international academic staff (IAS), especially those who originate from non-western, non-English speaking countries (Collins, 2008; Foote, Li, Monk, & Theobald, 2008; Green & Myatt, 2011). For example Luxon and Peelo’s (2009) study of non-UK staff in a British university found that poor command of English was problematic not only for academics’ daily communication (see also Jiang et al., 2010), but also their teaching. In contrast, other scholars argue that insufficient cultural knowledge is the main obstacle impacting on international academics’ teaching (Hsieh, 2012; Jiang et al., 2010). For instance, international staff are seen as struggling to come into terms with new academic standards, grading systems and student expectations and behaviour (Collins, 2008; Foote et al., 2008; Wong, 2004; Yourn & Kirkness, 2003). According to Green and Myatt (2011), they are often unable to predict and mimic culturally appropriate behaviour in classrooms which leads to negative feedback and consequently poor self-esteem. While these studies highlight career challenges experienced by international staff, it is too early to generalise these findings. Furthermore, we do not dismiss the fact that international academics are highly privileged in academic credentials, motivation, determination and ambition which has enabled them to be globally marketable. Thus, we argue that the picture is more complex than the dominant view implies. Notably a small number of studies draws attention to international academics’ career privileges. Drawing on life-story interviews with nine migrant women who hold full professorial posts in the UK, Sang et al. (2013) argue that these academics display high levels of agency and entrepreneurial flair. Strong links to their home countries were seen as an advantage, because they provided a distinct research area and a UK-based diaspora with which to collaborate. Consistent with research into migrants more generally, a few studies also highlight that international staff demonstrate steadfast resilience to the challenges they encounter (Zhou et al., 2008). For instance, Sang and colleagues argue that the women academics in their sample talked about their careers in terms of success rather than obstacles and were well able to cope with a range of constraints. This led them to the view that these respondents subscribed much more to male models of career success, in contrast to their less aspirational British counterparts. Rather controversially, Czarniawska and Sevo´n (2008) suggest that ‘international status’ may work as career capital for women academics since it distracts the organisation’s attention from their gender status, a factor which has been singled out as a key impediment to advancement. In the main studies that identify career advantages enjoyed by international academics are based on women professors. We do not yet know about the experiences of men and individuals lower down the hierarchy. Furthermore, very few studies distinguish between the specific challenges and advantages experienced by particular racial/ethnic groups of academics. Given that various ethnic groups have experienced distinct power relations in the UK, we cannot assume that their chances are similar. We address these gaps by examining career accounts of Indian academics working in a research-intensive university in the UK. Academics from India are a particularly interesting and important group to examine because India is one of the most popular geographical regions for academic recruitment to the UK, the USA and many other EEA countries (Montogomery, 2012). Since the 1950s, Indian scholars, particularly those working in scientific disciplines, have migrated to North America and Europe to further their careers in universities and research laboratories (Authors). This migration has led to debates about the ‘brain drain’ of scientists to the

Downloaded by [University of Nottingham] at 02:20 02 February 2016

The International Journal of Human Resource Management

5

West and the resulting debilitating impact on the science and technology sector in India (Ackers, 2005). Investigations into the triggers for the large-scale migration and movement of Indian scientists have pointed to the limited job opportunities for academics in India, the inability of leading Indian research institutions to attract talented individuals, and the long-standing perception that the monetary rewards on offer to research scientists in India pale significantly in comparison with global standards (Balram, 2001). Metcalf et al. (2005) suggest that in contrast to some groups whose tenure in the UK is generally short-lived, attracting staff from the Asian sub-continent is considered a long-term solution for positions in UK higher education. Arguably, due to legacies of colonialism South Asians are statistically less likely to leave the UK after a couple of years of service in comparison to their counterparts from the EU or other EEA countries. Also members of the Indian diaspora are seen as achievement oriented, aiming to reach the highest possible positions in their careers. Indian families strongly encourage both male and female adult children to achieve status through career (Shah, Dwyer, & Modood, 2010) and individuals strive hard to fulfil their parents’ wishes. Another interesting factor highlighted in studies of Indian professionals is their propensity to exhibit high resilience to tolerate career challenges (Adya, 2008). This is a particularly useful asset for developing a career in the rapidly marketising UK higher education sector. The limited literature thus depicts some interesting patterns that we seek to further develop here. Beyond academic audiences, we expect that our findings will be of significant relevance to HRM practitioners managing South Asian skilled migrants’ careers in education as well as other occupational sectors. The UK academic context Academia in the UK is undergoing massive change, leading to competing demands on staff. In the last two decades UK universities have become increasingly managerial and market-oriented – features that were formerly unknown in a workplace characterised by high levels of professional autonomy (Enders & Kaulisch, 2006). In line with modernisation and new public management agendas, government policies have contributed towards this marketisation, introducing performance indicators to judge quality of institutions and determine their funding (Townley, 1997). In the UK, the Research Excellence Framework is charged with distributing public funds for academic research according to departments’ degree of excellence in their fields. Findings of a questionnaire survey in the 1990s indicated that some of the post-1992 universities had divided academics into research active and non-active, reducing the former group’s teaching load to facilitate their research activities and increase their research output (Harley, Muller-Camen, & Collin, 2004). Harley et al. (2004) found that the devaluation of teaching created tensions between teaching and research staff. Established researchers felt they were forced to neglect their teaching, their students and the quality of their research in order to produce a quick-fix product. Since then the context has changed dramatically. A recent significant change is the increase in tuition fees and far greater emphasis on teaching and student experience which has emerged as a result (Creighton, 2012). In this context, one could speculate that in academic careers, teaching may soon become as important as research output. Cuts in funding to university departments are also a feature of the new academic environment. However, academics are increasingly expected to find and manage their own money and success in acquisition is important to the university as well as the individual researcher (Enders & Kaulisch, 2006). Linked with this is the emphasis on entrepreneurship where universities are encouraged to

Downloaded by [University of Nottingham] at 02:20 02 February 2016

6

W.D.A. Fernando and L. Cohen

collaborate with industry, to transfer their knowledge beyond the academy and to demonstrate the impact of their research on a diverse range of external stakeholders. In a study of academics on a government funded entrepreneurship programme in the UK, Authors argue that universities encourage academics to pursue commercial activity in line with national priorities, while retaining traditional yardsticks of academic success (measured by publications and contribution to science) in considering reward and promotion decisions. We thus highlight an array of competing imperatives impacting on academics’ careers in the UK. While studies suggest that academics find it difficult to manage these multiple demands (Harley et al., 2004), thus far they have not distinguished between the experiences of home and international staff. This is extremely important because international academics are seen as experiencing greater career challenges than home academics, and yet are joining the UK academic workforce in ever increasing numbers. Bourdieu’s theory of practice Bourdieu’s theory of practice revolves around six major concepts – field, habitus, capital, practice, doxa and illusio (Golsorkhi, Leca, Lounsbury, & Ramirez, 2009). Most fundamentally, Bourdieu suggests that society is divided into social fields (Bourdieu & Wacquant, 1992). While there are some interdependencies and inter-relations between social fields, they tend to be relatively autonomous. Significantly, we can neither see nor measure a field except via its effects (Martin, 2003). That is, the structure of a field is defined by the objective relationships between positions held by the agents who are part of it (Bourdieu, 1996). In other words, field is conceptualised as a configuration of relationships, not between the concrete entities themselves but rather between the nodes those entities occupy within a given network (Emirbayer & Johnson, 2008). These positions in organisational space and the forces binding them together constitute (from a synchronic perspective) a temporary state of power relations, within what is (from a diachronic perspective) an on-going struggle for domination over the field (Emirbayer & Johnson, 2008). Each field is characterised by a fundamental divide between agents who possess the capital relevant to set the rules of the game (the orthodoxy) and those who do not (the heresy). Agents continuously take positions in the fields. Positions taken depend on the stocks of capital they possess, what they see as the rules of the field and habitus (Bourdieu, 1984). Within the mainstream careers literature a popular framework for understanding how people manage (or fail to manage) their career development is that of ‘career competence’: knowing why, knowing what, knowing whom (Defillippi & Arthur, 1994). In contrast to this psychological approach, Bourdieu’s (1986) socially embedded theory of practice highlights four forms of capital: economic, social, cultural and symbolic. Economic capital is convertible into money and includes financial resources and property. Social capital comprises resources based on social connections and/or group affiliations (Mayrhofer et al., 2004). Cultural capital is of three forms: embodied capital such as mannerisms, dress codes and mastery of language refers to properties of one’s self that are both acquired and inherited from the family through socialisation (Bourdieu, 1990); objectified cultural capital consists of physical objects that are owned; and institutionalised cultural capital includes credentials or titles (Bourdieu, 1986). Finally symbolic capital refers to one or more of these basic forms of capital which are socially recognised as legitimate (Doherty & Dickmann, 2009). This could be internal recognition

Downloaded by [University of Nottingham] at 02:20 02 February 2016

The International Journal of Human Resource Management

7

within a particular occupational field or external recognition acknowledged in transition to one occupation from another. Applied to the study of career, scholars have also drawn attention to other forms of capital. For example, in a patriarchal society, gender is a form of career capital where men have career advantages over women simply because they are men (Huppatz, 2009). Furthermore, Al Ariss and Syed (2011) argue that for highly skilled Lebanese migrants in Paris, French citizenship work as a powerful form of capital since it opens doors to jobs in France, while Authors suggest that being a ‘global citizen’ was a salient form of career capital for Indian scientists in the UK, providing them with cultural literacy needed to fit in as they moved across national boundaries. Also important is capital mobilisation – using one form of capital to gain another (see Bourdieu, 1986). Here economic capital is seen as more easily converted into cultural, social and symbolic capital than vice versa (Postone, LiPuma, & Calhoun, 1993). For example, individuals with economic resources can afford to send their children to prestigious universities to obtain cultural capital. Habitus is a system of dispositions: a schema of perceiving, feeling, thinking and action which guides peoples’ behaviour (Bourdieu, 1990). It is not a result of free will nor is it determined by structures, but is created by interplay between the two over time (Bourdieu, 1984). Arguably most vividly described in Distinction (Bourdieu, 1984), a person’s habitus, as a system of dispositions conditioned by social origins and subsequent experiences in social space gives rise to a sense of possible position-takings open to that person in a given field. Bourdieu (1988, p. 784) suggests ‘the field, as a structured space, tends to structure the habitus, while the habitus tends to structure perceptions of the field’. Because it embeds itself, ‘not only upon the minds but also into the bodies’ of individuals, habitus ‘predisposes agents toward practical action at a level that is neither conscious nor intentional’ (Lizardo, 2004): in other words, ‘unintentional intentionality’ (Ozbilgin & Tatli, 2005). Practice is what agents actually do in a given field, for a given situation (Golsorkhi et al., 2009). However practice does not involve conscious purpose, and thus it is not easily defined as action. Furthermore, it is not reducible to unconscious biological drives so cannot be defined as motion. Instead practice is seen as inhabiting an ambiguous territory between the poles of action and motion (Golsorkhi et al., 2009). Although not determined by solely the habitus, practice is the outcome of the multiple relations and interactions between the field, capital and habitus as well as by the position of the agent in her relations to the other agents, the history of the field, the personal history of the agent and the way this history has shaped her habitus (Bourdieu, 1990). Hence, practice is evolving and distinctive, although practices in the same field tend to have common patterns as they are produced and reproduced in relation to the stakes and interests specific to the field’. Patterned sets of practices which are enabled and constrained by the rules of the field in turn, contribute to the shaping of these rules (Golsorkhi et al., 2009). A fundamental belief in the interest of the game and the related stakes constitute the illusio specific to the field (Bourdieu, 1984). Because field members share the same commitment to play (Bourdieu & Wacquant, 1992, p. 98), they are not conscious that they are playing a game at all. Rather, the game specific to a particular field is experienced as the natural way to operate. While illusio can be seen as a collective self-deception, it is also what allows agents to play (Bourdieu, 2000). Sharing the illusio also means that field members will respect the rules and struggle to gain field-appropriate forms of capital. Through their struggles for those forms, people acknowledge and reinforce the importance of these capitals and thus continuously reinforce the illusio (Bourdieu, 1990; Golsorkhi et al., 2009).

8

W.D.A. Fernando and L. Cohen

Doxa relates to routines and actions that are done automatically. It excludes any explicit questioning of ‘taken for granted’ assumptions within the field. The naturalisation of those assumptions render particular power relations beyond challenge and makes them easy to accept. While dominant actors can be challenged, the rules themselves are more impervious (Bourdieu, 1977, 1990). Although concepts such as doxa may suggest that there is little potential for change, some scholars take a more dynamic view to habitus, arguing that it can be modified through the positive and negative experiences individuals encounter in life (Mayrhofer et al., 2004).

Downloaded by [University of Nottingham] at 02:20 02 February 2016

Applying Bourdieu’s theory of practice to examine international academics’ career accounts We draw on Bourdieu’s theory of practice, focusing particularly on habitus and capital to examine our respondents’ accounts of career. Given that we concentrate on academics in a single research-intensive university we are looking at a ‘field within a field’ in Emirbayer and Johnson’s (2008) terms. Because fields are neither obvious nor measurable empirically, the process of constructing the field is one of the most difficult phases of research and there is no a priori answer to the question of its boundaries. Each field has a coherence based on a working consensus as to the nature of the game. Thus, we can view the field in terms of respondents’ shared constructions of what they see as ‘the nature of the game’. However, we also recognise that the state they describe is not static, because ‘every field is the site of a more or less overt struggle over the definition of the legitimate principles of the division of the field’ (Bourdieu, 1985, p. 734). From a Bourdieusian perspective, career can be seen as emerging in the space of interaction (Bradbury & Lichtenstein, 2000) between agents in a specific field. In the literature, international academics are depicted as a heresy group because they are outsiders who lack teaching skills and cultural knowledge – i.e. important forms of capital. Orthodox groups include (but not restricted to) key gatekeepers of universities, funding bodies and accreditation bodies who set the rules and struggle to further their own interests. For example, universities might try to boost their ratings by encouraging high status publications or generating research income. In the spirit of a relational approach, we focus on relationships in our respondents’ accounts. We look at how international academics see themselves in interaction with key gatekeepers in the university, with collaborators, funding bodies, etc. We would argue that career is the coming together of all the practices (capital acquisition, mobilisation and conversion) set within the goal of advancing within a particular field. Individual members of the workforce, who are equipped with a specific portfolio of field-relevant capital, try to maintain or improve their place in their given field. As noted before, agents are guided by habitus and the rules of the field (Iellatchitch, Mayrhofer, & Meyer, 2003, p. 732). We can relate habitus to Indian academics’ frameworks of career thinking and enactment. These frameworks are shaped by early socialisation as well as consecutive experiences. The idea of ‘unintentional intentionality’ (Ozbilgin & Tatli, 2005) captured in habitus highlights the extent to which academics’ career behaviour is congruent with the changing requirements of the British higher education system. The concept of capital helps us understand the unique field specific resources Indian academics possess and those they lack. Capital mobilisation illuminates how Indian academics use the resources they have to gain others in order to enhance their extant positions. In sum, we draw on Bourdieu’s theory of practice to examine how a particular cultural group of international academics enact their careers and with what implications.

The International Journal of Human Resource Management

9

Downloaded by [University of Nottingham] at 02:20 02 February 2016

We particularly focus on the distinct capitals they possess and/or lack and how they mobilise these capitals to enhance their position, their career habitus and its resulting career benefits and/or drawbacks. Research design This article is based on 32 Indian academics working in a premier research-intensive university in the UK. All respondents were attached to science and engineering departments. These are important disciplines to focus on because they recruit high numbers of international staff (Metcalf et al., 2005). The school of Engineering is one of the top unified engineering schools in the UK, underpinned by research strengths in eight core engineering areas. The School employs some of the leading engineers in their field, who publish papers in top ranking journals. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, the school received top rankings. Furthermore it boasts high research income. The Faculty of Science is home to 10 departments and a number of research centres, dedicated to producing world-class research. Close to 70% of individual departments’ research was classified as world class in the 2014 REF and each department employs over 100 academic and research staff. The percentage of international academics in both schools is around 40%. Twenty of our respondents were senior lecturers while 12 were lecturers. We chose to study male and female academics in early and mid-career because the majority of existing work on international staff focuses on women who have reached professorship (see Sang et al., 2013) and therefore does not adequately capture the experiences of men and those further down the career pipeline. Fifteen interviewees were women while 17 were men. Respondents ranged from 30 to 48 years. They were recruited by a snowballing sampling method. In hour-long, semi-structured interviews respondents were asked a series of questions about what they expected from their careers, the resources necessary to develop a career in UK academia, the opportunities and constraints they have encountered and the strategies they have used to manage these tensions. We also asked questions about how their careers compare with home academics, their homework dynamics, the resources they see themselves as possessing and those they lack and the advantages and drawbacks of being Indian. We encouraged interviewees to describe concrete events in order to avoid generalisation (see Van den Brink & Benschop, 2012). The interviews were loosely structured, allowing respondents to raise topics of concern. All interviews were digitally recorded. The fact that the first researcher was a non-UK born academic from South Asia and a non-native English speaker contributed to the development of a rapport and therefore to the generation of narratives in an atmosphere of safety and frankness (Silwa & Johansson, 2013). The main data analysis technique was template analysis. This involves organising and analysing textual data according to themes. We chose template analysis because it is an effective method of reducing large amounts of interview text to a relevant and manageable form enabling comparison and evaluation. Following King’s (2004) approach, we first developed a list of codes representing the key themes. These were identified in relation to the literature reviewed, the authors’ experience of the context, and the frequency that themes were introduced. Examples of first order codes included publishing, teaching, managing work and personal life and connections to India. Once the initial codes were defined, we allocated sections of data notes to the appropriate themes. The Nvivo 9 software package was used to facilitate data coding and to establish frequencies pertaining to themes. The template was continuously modified in the process of coding, using Hammersley and Atkinson’s (1994) notion of ‘progressive focusing’. Given that

Downloaded by [University of Nottingham] at 02:20 02 February 2016

10

W.D.A. Fernando and L. Cohen

developing codes is part of the analytical process, we split dominant themes into several subsidiary categories and amalgamated some subsidiary categories together as the analysis developed. For instance, the theme ‘publishing’ was split into ‘publishing at a faster rate than others’, ‘prioritising publishing over teaching’ and ‘utilising personal time to write’. We also looked for relationships between themes. For instance, the theme ‘growing up in a competitive Indian society’ was related to ‘coping with career challenges’ thus illuminating how the field structures the habitus (Bourdieu, 1986). Our approach contains aspects of deduction and induction. We used Bourdieu as a broad, sensitising framework, but also allowed new ideas to emerge from the accounts themselves. We were keen to examine how Bourdieusian concepts played out in the data, as well as following up unanticipated themes. We sought out contrasting and minority views to ensure that our analysis was based on all respondents’ voices rather than just the dominant majority. We read and re-read the contents of each theme and wrote these up as narratives, retaining verbatim quotations. In other words we produced a ‘coherent story’ of each data theme (King, 2004). We focused on the associations between themes rather than analysing the individual themes alone, gauging overriding patterns and relationships. In presenting the data we have used pseudonyms and avoided naming respondents’ departments in order to protect their identities. Findings: developing a career in a research-intensive university In this section, we focus on the distinct ways our respondents attempted to develop their careers in the research-intensive university system. These findings are based on the dominant themes in the data collected: publishing, managing work and life and connections to India. To give a brief description to the context in which these academics operated, respondents agreed that in their university, promotion to senior lecturer and reader was governed solely by research achievements. Although academics were required to take on various teaching and administration roles, these did not count for promotion. Instead articles in top rated journals were compulsory and the generation of research funds was highly desirable. In what follows, we show the distinct ways in which our respondents attempted to advance their careers, highlighting the effect of habitus on their approach. Prioritising publishing and income generation and doing it faster than others All of our respondents from both science and engineering talked about how they prioritised publishing and generating research income over activities such as teaching and administration. In their view, some rare exceptional individuals are able to find their way into top journals with little effort, but the majority of ‘average calibre’ academics need a lot of time to write to the standard these journals require – time which was difficult to find with heavy teaching loads and unpaid professional obligations. With the upcoming Research excellence framework (REF) in 2014, most respondents saw high status publications as the critical prerequisite to career advancement and justified compromising on other activities in order to generate these. Shravin explains: You are expected to publish very well and secure funding and not get into trouble with teaching. A university is not a school after all – it is place for adults to learn by themselves. Lecturers can guide but it is ultimately up to you. I studied in what people in this country might call appalling circumstances – our lecturers didn’t often understand what they were supposed to teach. But I read and learnt on my own and this is what brought me here today. There is big talk about student consumers – and some people feel that we ought to do more for students. But I think we do enough. I didn’t become an academic because my mission in life is

The International Journal of Human Resource Management

11

Downloaded by [University of Nottingham] at 02:20 02 February 2016

to add value to students. I came here to do research and to make a career for myself in a renowned university – so my main concern is doing my job well and according to our dean this involves getting good publications.

In this insightful statement, Shravin highlighted that some academics encounter moral dilemmas when they find themselves compromising on teaching and student time to write papers, but he does not. He told us how he had come to the UK to build a career in academia and therefore had focused on what counts for promotion – the production of high quality research outputs. Like Shravin, most of our other respondents did not see spending excessive amounts of time with students or on student-related matters as an important part of their jobs. We do not intend to undermine our respondents or to portray them as self-centred, but as they explained, their own experiences of hardship in education led them to think that UK students had more than enough support. Such thinking seemed to enable these respondents to single-mindedly focus on their own career goals. However, it is notable that male academics were more likely than females to talk about ‘doing enough’ for students. Echoing existing understandings of gendered expectations, six respondents thought that students expected them to provide more support than male teachers simply because they were women (Authors). Thus they saw it as imperative to fulfil these expectations in order to maintain goodwill. Thus, while there was certainly a degree of homogenisation within this sample, there were also some important differences. Nevertheless in contrast to studies of home academics (see Harley et al., 2004; Sparkes, 2007), none of our respondents were distressed about having to prioritise research and pay less attention to teaching and students. Significantly, respondents not only talked about publishing in top outlets and securing research funds, but also highlighted how they aimed to accomplish these activities faster than their British colleagues. Here an intriguing difference in our data comes to the fore. For the scientists the need to publish at a higher, faster rate than their UK counterparts served to compensate for deficiencies in their teaching. Although teaching did not count for promotion, respondents felt that they needed to be better than their UK colleagues in other areas to justify their presence and maintain their status. In contrast, the engineers said that their departmental heads regularly benchmarked them against other colleagues at a similar level. Therefore they felt that doing better than others, was critical to progression. In Harbajan’s words: When we were on probation we were constantly compared against others. We were explicitly told about each other’s activity at progress meetings – while maintaining confidentiality of course. It was really stressful for some people – but for me it was a matter of fact. This took me back to my school days when my mother wanted to know about everyone else’s maths marks. In India it is about doing better than others, because there is little to go around, getting into good universities, scholarships etc. are very competitive. Anyway I carried on as I always have – I would not stand in anyone’s way but I aim to do better than them. I usually submit more than the required amount of grant applications and journal articles each year. A little bit of competition is healthy I think. I was identified for promotion even before I formally applied for it.

In this insightful statement, Harbajan highlights how ‘competitiveness’ (part and parcel of growing up in a society like India with limited resources), helped him to climb up his university’s career structure. While almost 90% of respondents talked about growing up in a competitive society, there was a notable difference between the scientists and the engineers in the extent to which they continued to describe themselves in these terms. In general, engineers seemed to be more comfortable with competitiveness than scientists. They drew on the ‘do or die’ culture of their departments characterised by fierce emphasis on securing research funds to justify their seemingly aggressive career behaviour.

12

W.D.A. Fernando and L. Cohen

Downloaded by [University of Nottingham] at 02:20 02 February 2016

Scientists in contrast were less likely to say that they attempted to do better than their peers, although they sought to do ‘better’ themselves. Significantly, in the light of funding cuts and top journals’ high rejection rates, respondents emphasised how important it is to keep trying in the midst of failure. Ranjani, from sciences, explains: It is heart-breaking work. You prepare a grant application which everybody says is very good, spend a lot of time on it and then it gets rejected. Sometimes everything gets rejected and you have to re-frame them and try again. I know a lot of people who just give up some years because they just don’t have the initiative to take rejection all over again. I don’t let anything get me down. I never give up on an idea in a grant or a paper whatever feedback I get. I can’t live with myself if I do that and I hate to have pending things. I take feedback, refine the idea and send it again. The more you do your chances of success are higher – that’s common sense and you learn. Resilience is a key characteristic of the Indian community in any country. If you look at the diaspora in (NAME OF CITY) – they live very well, in the best neighbourhoods. Even the working class who came here for various odd jobs and faced various forms of marginalisation ultimately make a business idea work. They never give up, whatever the obstacles; they keep working hard and trying.

Ranjani not only highlights her incredible tenacity to cope with rejections and re-work ideas for grant applications, but also shows how the perceived struggles of early Indian migrants to the UK shaped her career thinking and enactment. In her view, hard work and resilience allowed this group to make it in the UK despite many obstacles. As a fellow Indian immigrant (although highly skilled) she took inspiration from their experiences and applied it to her own career thinking and enactment, illustrating how one’s habitus is shaped by perceived historical power struggles. While not everybody in our sample drew on historical power struggles as Ranjani did, they exhibited high degree of resilience. Indeed this trait was particularly pronounced among females. Four women academics explained conventional gender ideologies in India and how they defied societal attitudes towards achieve career status; a vivid illustration of how early gendered experiences shapes habitus. It is notable that three respondents mentioned that they felt disheartened with journal rejections at times and felt like giving up. However, there was no evidence that any of them actually did this.

Capital mobilisation A key theme in the data collected was the mobilisation of ‘ethnic capital’ (advantages pertaining from one’s ethnicity such as cultural knowledge and networks) (Shah et al., 2010). Respondents from both schools talked about how they effectively utilised exclusive resources specific to Indians, to advance their careers in the British research-intensive university system. Connections to India were a source of significant ethnicized social and cultural capital these academics were able to deploy to attract famous British collaborators. Harin who worked in supply chain management in India prior to embarking on an academic career in the UK explains: I worked in supply chain management in India for 8 years and since my PhD I have worked with a lot of famous people here – I am their contact to famous places in India if you know what I mean. But then it is not only about contacts, but cultural knowledge is essential when you get into interpreting and writing data. Sean who is one of my key collaborators is a top person in the field. I work in the same way I used to work with superiors in India – he is the boss and I am the subordinate. I am comfortable with it and it makes it easier for him because I do the time consuming work – and of course it is two-way because he offers me his great insights and I am learning a lot from him – so it is a two-way productive relationship.

Downloaded by [University of Nottingham] at 02:20 02 February 2016

The International Journal of Human Resource Management

13

In highlighting how individuals leverage ‘ethnic capital’ to convince high profile, British academics to collaborate with them, these findings challenge the migration literature which suggests that migrants’ compatriot networks ultimately lead to their marginalisation (Raghuram et al., 2010). Instead our data shows how migrants use ethnic social capital (connections to research networks in their home countries) to obtain symbolic career capital in the form of prestigious research partnerships (Doherty & Dickmann, 2009). Also significant in Harin’s excerpt is how exposure to cultural norms of compliance to superiors (Authors) in India helped him develop effective working relationships with key people in the UK, indicating that different cultural styles can be a significant advantage. In contrast to Harin, some of our respondents drew on exposure to societal norms of collectiveness in South Asian contexts (Niles, 1998) to illustrate the importance of developing strong, collegial friendships which subsequently led to research collaborations. Another valuable form of ethnic capital possessed by almost all our respondents was domestic capital (Authors). Respondents talked about how extended family members lived with them as per tradition (Lewis, Izraeli, & Hootsman, 1992), or how extended family members resident in the UK helped them with their children and housework. Indeed in contrast to working women in Europe (Crompton, 2006) it is notable that not a single academic in our sample complained about their domestic burdens. Mekala, a mother of four children, talked about how she deployed this domestic career capital to develop her social capital: Having my mother-in-law to look after the house and the kids is a blessing. This means that I can focus on my research, join my colleagues for a drink, participate in graduations – do these little things as well. The last time I went for a drink I was seated next to my head of department. We never talk at office – he is so busy. But this time we were chatting and our conversation led to me telling him about my research activity for the past couple of months which he didn’t have a clue about. Anyway a couple of days after this, he sent me an email identifying some people who might be interested to hear about what I do and suggested that I get involved in this big departmental grant. He also mentioned that I might consider readership. Honestly it was almost like he didn’t know that I existed before we had this conversation over drinks. I think it is important to make time to socialise with your colleagues especially seniors – this might be your only chance to let them know about what you do and build rapport.

Domestic career capital (Mayrhofer et al., 2004) not only facilitated individuals’ primary focus on research, but also gave them time to network. Indeed a number of other female respondents heartily agreed with Mekala, highlighting how domestic capital enabled them to socialise with their colleagues and superiors out of hours and provided opportunities to engage in self-promotion. This was seen as especially important because senior personnel were often unaware of the full range of activity undertaken by junior academics.

Managing work and personal life Almost all of our respondents explained how they effectively managed their personal lives to ensure that they had sufficient time to devote to their research. This theme was particularly dominant in the accounts of our 15 female respondents, all of whom were married with children. Mala explains: I think I work on articles around the clock. I have no hobbies, no holidays – just writing. But in contrast to people in this country, I think Indian people in general work with conviction to achieve their goals. I am not implying that people in this country do not work hard, because they

14

W.D.A. Fernando and L. Cohen

Downloaded by [University of Nottingham] at 02:20 02 February 2016

do, but they also have a life apart from work – they have hobbies, they go on holiday. We grew up in a society where status is everything. Even among the Indian diaspora here in (NAME OF CITY) status is everything – people ask ‘are you a professor yet’? So you have to have something to say. So yes, I want to be a chair soon, so I put in 60 hours a week to get the publications soon – my sacrifice now should hopefully pay off later. I don’t have patience to wait. I think these qualities work very well for me in career terms because I get publications very soon.

Mala highlighted how she compromises on her personal time in order to spend more time on her research. The emphasis placed on ‘status’ within the Indian diaspora in the UK, motivated her to advance. This data shows how people are situated in multiple fields and how dynamics in one field (Indian diaspora in the UK), affects frameworks of thinking and action in another (academic work). Mala’s approach was echoed by other mothers in the sample who likewise compromised time spent with their children for the sake of promotion. In contrast to the dominant understandings in the literature on women, work and motherhood (see Duncan, Edwards, Reynolds, & Alldred, 2003), these respondents saw themselves as co-providers rather than caretakers, and the domestic career capital noted earlier facilitated such thinking. Several respondents emphasised that elderly family members who lived with them indulged in their caretaker roles, taking pride in helping their adult children to progress, especially when it led to high status roles (see Perera, 1991). A key career goal for our female respondents was thus to be in a position to financially support their children in the future, fulfilling customs of parents gifting wealth and property to adult children which is common in South Asian cultures (see Authors). In this way, they justified and legitimised their sole focus on career, apparently with few moral qualms about their lack of involvement in the domestic sphere. While we have focused on mainly women academics, we note that our male academics shared similar sentiments about parenting and life (Wijayatilake, 2001). Indeed all the men in our sample emphasised that they were very careful to not anything interfere in their work and like the women academics they too devoted very little, if any, personal time to hobbies, holidays or leisure. Significantly, according to Govind, universities specifically targeted such highly workcentred individuals: When I was interviewed they asked me ‘why should we give you this job’. I told them because I am very motivated, I don’t let anything get in the way of achieving my goals, I don’t have a problem with workloads, work is a lifestyle for me and I would play the game by their rules – I was being very honest. And they said that this is the best answer they got. That they want such people.

This excerpt highlights that work centrality works as a powerful career capital in the current academic context: not only for individuals to ‘play the publishing game’ but even more basically to secure employment (see also Metcalf et al., 2005).

The future Although respondents were confident that they could play the game, they were also quite hazy about the future. When asked where they see themselves in 5 – 10 years, a number of people talked about the uncertainty characterising UK academia because the rules are changing. Universities are starting to place more emphasis on teaching scores because the NSS (National Student Survey) significantly shaped their ranking and funding criteria. Tulsi, from sciences, explains the situation in her department: There is talk that teaching will be more and more important in the future. Universities do not want their image to go down on the NSS given that so many things depend on it. So the future is not clear at the moment.

The International Journal of Human Resource Management

15

In contrast, the engineers were under greater pressure to generate research funding. However, they argued that funding was now available for only highly topical research. This was seen as a significant obstacle by many academics who saw such research as outside their comfort zone. These respondents were worried about their future. It is notable that a number of people talked about settling down in India in the long term, drawing on discourses of serving their beloved homeland:

Downloaded by [University of Nottingham] at 02:20 02 February 2016

I come from a quite rural area in Tamil Nadu – there is a university in our local area and one day I hope to go back and share my knowledge there, do something for the students – the majority who comes from very underprivileged backgrounds. I received my education, my life experience, my everything from home, so after my kids are done with their education I want to go back to repay my debts (Ragawa)

Ragawa felt a strong sense of obligation to give back something to the country he had left behind. This feeling of responsibility towards their home country was a significant theme running across the data collected. Indeed 15 respondents, hoped to head back to India at a later stage of their career to contribute to less privileged Indian students. It is notable that respondents who strived to make a contribution to India were often from rural areas. We might speculate that the comparatively low economic development in their hometowns may have led to these individuals feeling such obligation to contribute. A few respondents said that they wished to head back to India to live among their family and community in the later stages of their life. Indeed one might wonder if exit is the only thing left for these academics to do, if the rules do change. Discussion In this article, we used Bourdieu’s (1984, 1986, 1977) theory of practice to examine a group of Indian academics’ careers. Based on our findings we make three key, conceptual contributions. First we draw on our respondents’ accounts to develop what we call an ‘ethnicized career habitus’. We explain this concept in terms of four components: singlemindedness, competitiveness, resilience and work centrality. Single-mindedness, influenced by early experiences of getting through challenging circumstances enabled respondents to focus exclusively on publishing and research income, without encountering moral dilemmas about compromising on teaching (Harley et al., 2004; Sparkes, 2007). In their view, such exclusive focus on ‘what counts’, facilitated on the job performance. Competitiveness, part and parcel of growing up in a society with limited resources, resulted in respondents aiming to publish faster than their colleagues. Because academics (especially from engineering) are regularly benchmarked against their peers, those who achieve more output were noticed and singled out for promotion. A third component is resilience (strength to cope) which helped respondents to manage rejections. Some explained resilience with reference to the struggles of early Indian immigrants, highlighting how they carried on in the midst of various barriers and ultimately ‘made it big’. In contrast, a number of female respondents drew on their experiences of overcoming gendered ideologies in India to explain their resilience. The fourth component is work centrality, where ‘status’ associated with senior positions (especially in the Indian community), motivated these academics to maintain a central focus on their work. Work centrality not only facilitated job performance, but also helped respondents to secure positions. Although there were different nuances in our data, there was also a great degree of homogenisation due to similar exposure. We argue that this ethnicized career habitus highlights how structural forces express themselves in everyday individual behaviours. We can thus move away from explaining individuals’ career behaviour in terms of

Downloaded by [University of Nottingham] at 02:20 02 February 2016

16

W.D.A. Fernando and L. Cohen

essentialised cultural traits, looking instead at a particular group’s experiences of power relations. In a recent IJHRM article Zikic (2015) draws on intelligent career theory to suggest how organisations can understand the resources skilled migrants have to offer and focus on strategies to attract and retain them. We develop her work by providing empirical evidence of the key strengths of a particular group. Our findings of Indian academics are likely to be easily translated to skilled migrants from other South Asian countries. Beyond South Asia, whilst we recognise that specific components of habitus might differ between migrant groups, the idea that these are deeply connected to backgrounds, experiences and historical circumstances is certainly applicable. By focusing on the experiences of a particular nationality we provide a more contextualised view of skilled migrants’ frameworks of thinking and action. Based on the evidence presented, we argue that skilled migrants should be seen as differentiated in terms of socialisation and power relations, because these dimensions are highly pertinent to how they think about and seek to develop their careers. Second, based on empirical evidence we challenge the dominant discourse of disadvantage associated with skilled migrants’ careers in the extant international HRM literature (see Almeida et al., 2012; Hakak and Al-Ariss, 2013; Salaff et al., 2002). The ethnicized habitus we outlined enabled the international academics in our sample to progress up their university’s hierarchy and led them to be singled out for jobs over other candidates. Our respondents also effectively mobilised their ‘ethnic capital’ (Shah et al., 2010) to enhance their positions. They used their valuable social connections to India and important cultural knowledge (Al Ariss & Syed, 2011) to obtain highly prized symbolic capital in the form of research partnerships with leading academics in the West (Doherty & Dickmann, 2009), thus challenging the assertion that migrants’ networks and resources do not facilitate upward career mobility (see Raghuram et al., 2010). Similarly they used ethnicized domestic capital (in terms of practical support from extended family members) to develop crucial social capital. These findings extend prevailing understandings of ‘ethnic capital’ (see Shah et al., 2010) by showing how it can be used to obtain other forms of capital, thus providing insights into the generally under researched process of capital convertibility (see Bourdieu, 1986; Postone et al., 1993). The data we generated provide a robust critique of the pervasive discourse of disadvantage and victimhood associated with migrants’ careers. However another interpretation might illuminate issues of power and domination. In their quest to make it in British academia, Indian academics could be lending themselves to exploitation, consenting to work longer and harder than home colleagues in order to fulfil or even exceed performance expectations. As Govind argued, universities specifically targeted such highly work-centred individuals. Importantly, gatekeepers appeared to actively encourage this rigorous work ethic, assuming that Indian academics indulged in working hard and allowing them to do so for the benefit of the institution. In the process of playing the game well (and better than others), we wonder if Indian academics are reinstating their status as individuals who are required to outperform home colleagues, thereby contributing to the maintenance of their second class status (Raghuram et al., 2010). In other words, drawing on the recursive relationship between the field and the habitus (see Bourdieu & Wacquant, 1992) we propose that some international academics may rise due to extraordinary performance, but that such behaviour could lead to universities to continue to expect more than excellent performance from future international staff. It is also important to consider the fact that the rules are changing. Teaching is becoming an important performance criterion and funding bodies are becoming ever more competitive. Thus respondents’ current career trajectory may not continue to yield benefits. Drawing on Bourdieu’s theory of practice we can interpret these

Downloaded by [University of Nottingham] at 02:20 02 February 2016

The International Journal of Human Resource Management

17

changes as strategies of dominant groups (key gatekeepers of universities) to further their own interests (e.g. stronger rankings in the NSS). Notably none of our respondents challenged these rules. Rather their focus was on finding ways to follow them – indeed, to follow them even better than their UK counterparts. Respondents’ propensity to obey the rules which worked to their disadvantage could be explained by the paradox of doxa (Bourdieu, 2001), highlighting how individuals’ who are constrained by prevailing rules are most likely to conform to them. Indeed if the rules change, IAS might be forced to remain in their current positions or, if they are not satisfied, to exit in order to achieve greater rewards elsewhere (as some of them are planning to). These findings show how careers are constantly shaped by on-going interactions between various agents and in some instances, can be seen as responses to others’ moves. By using Bourdieu’s theory of practice to examine a group of IAS’ career accounts, we are able to appreciate the contextual embeddedness of career, highlighting both its dynamism and its stability. Third, we argue that capitals can be transferred between different fields. For instance, social connections in India and Indian family support systems effectively transferred to the UK context helping our respondents to develop their careers within the British higher education system. Based on these findings we challenge prevailing understandings of what Bourdieu and Wacquant (1992) term cumulative capital. The general consensus on cumulative capital is that those who possess capital have access to more capital, while those who are disadvantaged in their initial access suffer cumulative disadvantage (see Aschaffenburg & Maas, 1997). Our findings extend existing understandings by showing that agents belong to multiple fields and therefore capitals in a field that they are dominant can be transferred to one in which they are dominated. Notably, we are not arguing that capitals will have the same value or meaning when they are moved from one field to another. Rather these are field specific. However, based on our data we would argue that they do not lose their value altogether when they move fields. They may not work in precisely the same way but can still be salient and are certainly worthy of critical attention. Implications for practice, limitations and directions for future research Our findings have significant implications for HRM practitioners in higher education and other occupational sectors. First, the idea that different national groups approach their careers in particular ways (captured through the ethnicized habitus) provides insights which will ultimately lead to better informed decision-making – with respect to matching people to jobs, developing career development interventions, succession planning and day-to-day people management. While we do not mean to stereotype groups of people by associating them with essentialised characteristics, or to present a static, deterministic picture, we emphasise the fact that early life experiences and exposure to particular power relations shape the way people think and act and their strengths and weaknesses. This is important for HR practitioners because, given the large-scale cross-border movement characterising contemporary work, they are likely to encounter the challenge of overseeing unfamiliar others. Second, based on our findings we suggest that in designing their staff development processes and practices, HRM professionals in the higher education sector and elsewhere should take heed of the diverse experiences and approaches of their staff and thus provide opportunities for them to learn from one another. Rather than considering international colleagues as deficient and in need of remedial support, our data reveal considerable strengths and unique advantages. Home academics might benefit from listening to some highly agentic international colleagues’ career accounts in particular how they manage

Downloaded by [University of Nottingham] at 02:20 02 February 2016

18

W.D.A. Fernando and L. Cohen

research alongside other work commitments, how they balance home and work and how they develop strategic research partnerships. Likewise international academics may be able to learn about citizenship and teaching from home colleagues. The HR function could enable such practices by facilitating constructive career conversations in which colleagues can share experiences and challenges. Having said this, it is notable that a number of respondents saw themselves as less desirable teachers in comparison to their home colleagues. This is a serious concern because UK higher education is still changing. It might be the case that teaching gains ground in the future as the student population continue to demand better services because they pay high tuition fees. If this is the case, university’s rankings will increasingly come to rely on teaching quality. Over and above performance league tables, it is important that all academic staff enjoy teaching and see it as important. In the light of our findings we suggest that there might a need for training to address what appears to be a significant gap in certain high flyers’ academic portfolios. While we note the significant implications of our findings we also note its limitations. This study is based on the accounts of 32 individuals and does not by any means represent the views of the entire Indian academic diaspora. Furthermore, we considered career Table 1. Profiles of respondents. Name

Age

Speciality

Gender

Designation

Mala Prachi Sweta Karishma Shanthi Ranjani Divya Mekala Jayagh Tulsi Janvi Lathika Sharon Heena Rashmi Shravin Govind Nitin Gupta Javid Ali Akshay Sri Lal Harin Sunil Dev Anik Rohan Harbajan Rahul Kulvinder Dravid

32 31 40 45 42 34 30 43 39 37 41 33 30 36 35 45 44 30 42 40 41 33 45 43 33 44 47 34 38 38 33 48

Science Science Science Engineering Engineering Science Science Engineering Science Science Engineering Engineering Science Engineering Science Engineering Science Engineering Engineering Engineering Engineering Science Engineering Engineering Engineering Science Engineering Science Science Science Engineering Engineering

Female Female Female Female Female Female Female Female Female Female Female Female Female Female Female Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male Male

Lecturer Lecturer Senior lecturer Senior lecturer Senior lecturer Senior lecturer Lecturer Senior lecturer Senior lecturer Lecturer Senior lecturer Lecturer Lecturer Senior lecturer Senior lecturer Senior lecturer Senior lecturer Lecturer Senior lecturer Senior lecturer Senior lecturer Lecturer Senior lecturer Senior lecturer Lecturer Senior lecturer Senior lecturer Lecturer Senior lecturer Lecturer lecturer Senior lecturer

Downloaded by [University of Nottingham] at 02:20 02 February 2016

The International Journal of Human Resource Management

19

accounts of academics in a single university – ‘a field within a field’ in Emirbayer and Johnson (2008). Thus our findings may not represent the situation in all UK researchintensive universities. Nevertheless our purpose is not to generalise, but rather to draw attention to important issues which had not previously surfaced. Similarly we have not specifically attended to issues such as class and gender which are arguably as significant as ethnicity in shaping individuals’ career thinking and enactment. An important way forward would be to look at ethnicity in intersection with other factors. We call upon scholars to further develop our findings, in particular, to understand whether ‘doing the right things’ leads to desirable career outcomes at the highest levels. It could be the case that our respondents’ strong sense of personal agency precluded them from spotting covert forms of discrimination. While we cannot comment on this with certainty, it is important to further examine the longer term consequences of ‘playing the game well’ for international academics. While those in our study were pleased with what they had achieved so far, none of them had yet applied for professorship. Most importantly, the rules are changing and teaching is becoming a significant performance measure. Therefore, it is important to find out about how these academics operate under the new rules. Finally, we call upon Bourdieuisian scholars to examine what happens to capitals when they move fields (Table 1). Disclosure statement No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.

References Ackers, L. (2005). Moving people and knowledge: Scientific mobility in the European union. International Migration, 43, 99 – 131. doi:10.1111/j.1468-2435.2005.00343.x Adya, M. P. (2008). Women at work: Differences in IT career experiences and perceptions between South Asian and American women. Human Resource Management, 47, 601– 635. doi:10.1002/ hrm.20234 Al Ariss, A., & Syed, J. (2011). Capital mobilization of skilled migrants: A relational perspective. British Journal of Management, 22, 286– 304. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8551.2010.00734.x Almeida, S., Fernando, M., & Sheridan, A. (2012). Revealing the screening: Organisational factors influencing the recruitment of immigrant professionals. International Journal of Human Research Management, 23, 1950– 1965. doi:10.1080/09585192.2011.616527 Aschaffenburg, K., & Maas, I. (1997). Cultural and educational careers: The dynamics of social reproduction. American Sociological Review, 62, 573– 587. Balram, P. (2001). Redirecting migrations: Reversing the brain drain. Current Science, 80, 805–806. Baruch, Y., Budhwar, P. S., & Khatri, N. (2007). Brain drain: Inclination to stay abroad after studies. Journal of World Business, 42, 99 – 112. doi:10.1016/j.jwb.2006.11.004 Bauder, H. (2003). “Brain abuse”, or the devaluation of immigrant labour in Canada. Antipode, 35, 699– 717. doi:10.1046/j.1467-8330.2003.00346.x Bourdieu, P. (1977). Outline of a theory of practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bourdieu, P. (1984). Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. Bourdieu, P. (1985). The social space and the genesis of groups. Theory and Society, 14, 723–744. doi:10.1007/BF00174048 Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education (pp. 241– 258). New York: Greenwood. Bourdieu, P. (1988). Vive la crise!. Theory and Society, 17, 773– 787. doi:10.1007/BF00162619 Bourdieu, P. (1990). In other words. Essays towards a reflexive sociology. Cambridge: Polity Press. Bourdieu, P. (1996). The rules of art. Genesis and structure of the literary field. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Bourdieu, P. (2000). Pascalian meditations. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Downloaded by [University of Nottingham] at 02:20 02 February 2016

20

W.D.A. Fernando and L. Cohen

Bourdieu, P. (2001). Masculine domination. (R. Nice, Trans.). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. Bourdieu, P., & Wacquant, L. (1992). An invitation to reflexive sociology. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Bradbury, H., & Lichtenstein, B. M. B. (2000). Relationality in organizational research: Exploring the space between. Organization Science, 11, 551– 564. doi:10.1287/orsc.11.5.551.15203 Carr, S., Inkson, K., & Thorn, K. (2005). From global careers to talent flow: reinterpreting ‘brain drain’. Journal of World Business, 40, 386– 398. doi:10.1016/j.jwb.2005.08.006 Coker, N. (Ed.). (2001). Racism in medicine: An agenda for change. London: King’s Fund Publishing. Collins, J. (2008). Coming to America: Challenges for faculty coming to United States’ universities. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 32, 179– 188. doi:10.1080/03098260701731215 Creighton, S. (2012, February 2 – 8). Tell them how they’re doing – Before, during and after. The Times Higher Education. p. 16. Crompton, R. (2006). Employment and the family: the Reconfiguration of work and family life in contemporary societies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Czarniawska, B., & Sevo´n, G. (2008). The thin end of the wedge: Foreign women professors as double strangers in academia. Gender, Work and Organization, 15, 235– 287. doi:10.1111/j. 1468-0432.2008.00392.x Defillippi, R. J., & Arthur, M. B. (1994). The boundaryless career: A competency-based perspective. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 15, 307– 324. doi:10.1002/job.4030150403 Doherty, N., & Dickmann, M. (2009). Exposing the symbolic capital of international assignments. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 20, 301– 320. doi:10.1080/ 09585190802670664 Duncan, S., Edwards, R., Reynolds, T., & Alldred, P. (2003). Motherhood, paid work and partnering: Values and theories. Work Employment and Society, 17, 309 – 330. doi:10.1177/ 0950017003017002005 Emirbayer, M., & Johnson, V. (2008). Bourdieu and organizational analysis. Theory and Society, 37(1), 1 –44. doi:10.1007/s11186-007-9052-y Enders, J., & Kaulisch, M. (2006). The binding and unbinding of academic careers. In U. Teichler (Ed.), The Formative Years of Scholars Wenner-Gren International Series, Vol. 83 (pp. 85 – 96). London: Portland Press. Foote, K. E., Li, L., Monk, J., & Theobald, R. (2008). Foreign-born scholars in us universities: issues, concerns, and strategies. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 32, 167–178. doi:10.1080/03098260701731322 Frieze, I. H., Hansen, S. B., & Boneva, B. (2006). The migrant personality and college students’ plans for geographic mobility. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 26, 170– 177. doi:10. 1016/j.jenvp.2006.05.001 Goldacre, M., Davidson, J., & Lambert, T. (2004). Country of qualification, ethnic origin of UK doctors: Database and survey results. British Medical Journal, 329, 597. Golsorkhi, D., Leca, B., Lounsbury, M., & Ramirez, C. (2009). Analysing, accounting for and unmasking domination: On Our role as scholars of practice, practitioners of social science and public intellectuals. Organization, 16, 779– 797. doi:10.1177/1350508409343400 Green, W., & Myatt, P. (2011). Telling tales: A narrative research study of the experiences of new international academic staff at an Australian university. International Journal for Academic Development, 16, 33 – 44. doi:10.1080/1360144X.2011.546219 Hammersley, M., & Atkinson, P. (1994). Ethnography: Principles in practice (2nd ed.). London: Routledge. Harley, S., Muller-Camen, M., & Collin, A. (2004). From academic communities to managed organisations: The implications for academic careers in UK and German universities. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 64, 329– 345. doi:10.1016/j.jvb.2002.09.003 Harvey, W. (2008). Strong or weak ties? British and Indian expatriate scientists finding jobs in Boston. Global Networks, 8, 453– 473. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0374.2008.00234.x HESA. (2011). Higher education statistics agency. [Online]. Retrieved September 12, 2012, from http://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/Publications/Documents/HigherEducationInFactsAndFigures Summer2011.pdf

Downloaded by [University of Nottingham] at 02:20 02 February 2016

The International Journal of Human Resource Management

21

Hsieh, H. (2012). Challenges facing Chinese academic staff in a UK university in terms of language, relationships and culture. Teaching in Higher Education, 17, 371–383. doi:10.1080/13562517. 2011.641001 Huppatz, K. (2009). Reworking bourdieu’s ‘capital’: Feminine and female capitals in the field of paid caring work. Sociology, 43, 45 – 66. doi:10.1177/0038038508099097 Iellatchitch, A., Mayrhofer, W., & Meyer, M. (2003). Career fields: A small step towards a grand career theory? International Journal of Human Resource Management, 14, 728– 750. doi:10. 1080/0958519032000080776 Inkson, K., & Myers, B. A. (2003). “the big oe”: self-directed travel and career development. Career Development International, 8, 170– 181. doi:10.1108/13620430310482553 Jiang, X., Di napoli, R. D., Borg, M., Maunder, R., Fry, H., & Walsh, E. (2010). Becoming and being an academic: The perspectives of Chinese staff in two research-intensive UK universities. Studies in Higher Education, 35, 155– 170. doi:10.1080/03075070902995213 Kamenou, N. (2008). Reconsidering work-life balance debates: challenging limited understandings of the life component in the context of ethnic minority women’s experiences. British Journal of Management, 19, S99– S109. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8551.2008.00575.x King, N. (2004). Using templates in the thematic analysis of text. In C. Cassell & G. Symon (Eds.), Essential guide to qualitative methods in organizational research (pp. 256– 270). London: Sage. King, R. (2002). Towards a new map of European migration. International Journal of Population Geography, 8, 89 –106. doi:10.1002/ijpg.246 Kyriakides, C., & Virdee, S. (2003). Migrant labour, racism and the British national health service. Ethnicity & Health, 8, 283– 305. doi:10.1080/13557850310001631731 Lewis, S., Izraeli, D. N., & Hootsman, H. (1992). Dual earner families: International perspectives. London: Sage. Lizardo, O. (2004). The cognitive origins of Bourdieu’s Habitus. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 34, 375– 401. doi:10.1111/j.1468-5914.2004.00255.x Luxon, T., & Peelo, M. (2009). Academic sojourners, teaching and internationalisation: The experience of non-UK staff in a British University. Teaching in Higher Education, 14, 649–659. doi:10.1080/13562510903315233 Mahroum, S. (2001). Europe and the immigration of highly skilled labour. International Migration, 39, 27 – 43. doi:10.1111/1468-2435.00170 Martin, J. L. (2003). What is field theory? American Journal of Sociology, 109(1), 1 – 49. doi:10. 1086/375201 Mayrhofer, W., Iellatchitch, A., Meyer, M., Steyrer, J., Schiffinger, M., & Strunk, G. (2004). Going beyond the individual. Journal of Management Development, 23, 870– 884. doi:10.1108/ 02621710410558477 Metcalf, H., Rolfe, H., Stevens, P., & Weale, M. (2005). Recruitment and retention of academic staff in higher education. Nottingham: National Institute of Economic and Social Research. Montogomery, L. (2012). Trends in international academic and research staff recruitment: Insights from 2012 European career fair exhibitor survey. The Brenn-White Group. Niles, F. S. (1998). Individualism-collectivism revisited. Cross Cultural Research, 32, 315–341. doi:10.1177/106939719803200401 Ozbilgin, M., & Tatli, A. (2005). Book review essay: Understanding bourdieu’s contribution to organization and management studies. Academy of Management Review, 30, 855–869. doi:10. 5465/AMR.2005.18378882 Perera, M. (1991). The impact of macro-events on social structure in Sri Lanka. In E. Masino & S. Stratigos (Eds.), Women, households and change. United Nations University, United Nations Press. Postone, M., LiPuma, E., & Calhoun, C. (1993). Introduction: Bourdieu and social theory. In C. Calhoun, E. Lipuma, & M. Postone (Eds.), Bourdieu: Critical perspectives (pp. 1 – 13). Cambridge, MA: Polity. Raghuram, P., Henry, L., & Bornat, J. (2010). Difference and distinction?: Non-migrant and migrant networks. Sociology, 44, 623– 641. doi:10.1177/0038038510369360 Ramboarison-Lalao, L., Al-Ariss, A., & Barth, I. (2011). Careers of skilled migrants: Understanding the experiences of Malagasy physicians in France. Journal of Management Development, 31, 116– 129. Ravitch, D. (2002). Diversity, tragedy, and the schools. The Brooking Review, 20, 2 – 4.

Downloaded by [University of Nottingham] at 02:20 02 February 2016

22

W.D.A. Fernando and L. Cohen

Robinson, V., & Carey, M. (2000). Peopling skilled international migration: Indian doctors in the UK. International Migration, 38, 89 – 108. doi:10.1111/1468-2435.00100 Salaff, J., Greve, A., & Ping, L. X. L. (2002). Paths Into the Economy: Structural Barriers and the Job Hunt for Skilled PRC Migrants in Canada. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 13, 450– 464. doi:10.1080/09585190110111477 ¨ zbilgin, M. (2013). Frayed Careers of Migrant Female Professors in Sang, K., Al-Dajani, H., & O British Academia: An Intersectional Perspective. Gender, Work and Organization, 20, 158–171. doi:10.1111/gwao.12014 Shah, B., Dwyer, C., & Modood, T. (2010). Explaining educational achievement and career aspirations among young British Pakistanis: Mobilizing ‘ethnic capital’?. Sociology, 44, 1109– 1127. doi:10.1177/0038038510381606 Silwa, M., & Johansson, M. (2013). The discourse of meritocracy contested/reproduced: Foreign women academics in UK business schools. Organization. Advance online publication. doi:10. 1177/1350508413486850 Smith, G., & Nicolson, M. (2007). Re-expressing the division of British medicine under the NHS: The importance of locality in general practitioners’ oral histories. Social Science & Medicine, 64, 938– 948. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2006.10.017 Sparkes, A. C. (2007). Embodiment, academics, and the audit culture: A story seeking consideration. Qualitative Research, 7, 521– 550. doi:10.1177/1468794107082306 Syed, J. (2008). Employment prospects for skilled migrants: A relational perspective. Human Resource Management Review, 18, 28 – 45. doi:10.1016/j.hrmr.2007.12.001 Townley, B. (1997). The institutional logic of performance appraisal. Organization Studies, 18, 261– 285. doi:10.1177/017084069701800204 Turchick hakak, L. T., & Al Ariss, A. (2013). Vulnerable work and international migrants: A relational human resource management perspective. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 24, 4116– 4131. doi:10.1080/09585192.2013.845427 Van den Brink, M., & Benschop, Y. (2012). Gender practices in the construction of academic excellence: Sheep with five legs. Organization, 19, 507–524. doi:10.1177/1350508411414293 Van laer, K., & Janssens, M. (2011). Ethnic minority professionals’ experiences with subtle discrimination in the workplace. Human Relations, 64, 1203 – 1227. doi:10.1177/ 0018726711409263 Varma, R. (2007). Changing borders and realities: Emigration of Indian scientists and engineers to the United States. Perspectives on Global Development and Technology, 6, 539–556. doi:10.1163/156914907X253224 Wijayatilake, K. (2001). Unravelling herstories: A three generational study of women in Sri Lanka. Colombo, Sri Lanka: CENWOR. Wong, J. K. (2004). Are the learning styles of Asian internationals culturally or contextually based? International Education Journal, 4, 154–166. Yourn, B., & Kirkness, A. (2003). Adapting to a new culture of education: Not just an issue for students. In Proceedings of the higher education research & development society of Australasia (HERDSA) international conference, New Zealand, July. Retrieved February 7, 2011, from http://www.herdsa.org.au/wp-content/uploads/conference/2003/PDF/HERDSA61.pdf Zhou, Y., Jindal-Snape, D., Topping, K., & Todman, J. (2008). Theoretical models of culture shock and adaptation in international students in higher education. Studies in Higher Education, 33, 63 – 75. doi:10.1080/03075070701794833 Zikic, J. (2015). Skilled migrants’ career capital as a source of competitive advantage: Implications for strategic HRM. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 26, 1360 –1381. doi:10.1080/09585192.2014.981199 Zikic, J., Bonache, J., & Cerdin, J. L. (2010). Crossing national boundaries: A typology of qualified immigrants’ career orientations. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 31, 667–686. doi:10. 1002/job.705

Suggest Documents