ON COSMOPOLITANISM AND INTERNATIONAL ADJUSTMENT: AN ETHNOGRAPHY OF SELF-INITIATED FOREIGN WORK EXPERIENCES IN INDIA

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Martina Mettgenberg

Abstract

AbstractName of the University: University of ManchesterCandidate: Martina Annette MettgenbergDegree Title: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Thesis Title: On Cosmopolitanism and International Adjustment: An Ethnography of Self-Initiated Foreign Work Experiences In IndiaDate: Dec 2010Cosmopolitanism is widely debated in the literature of business and management and social sciences. It is often seen as a solution to the problem of international employees' maladjustment. The literature has predominantly examined the experiences of labour migrants and expatriates. In recent years, self-initiated foreign work experiences (SFE) have gained more relevance. Demographically, economically, socially and culturally, SFEs are situated in the "middle" between labour migrants and expatriates. Yet, concomitant discussions of a "middle" of cosmopolitanism and the exploration of everyday life of this middle cosmopolitanism have been rare. Conceptualising SFE processes is vital for a more holistic and effective understanding of international adjustment and cosmopolitanism. To this end, the study provides an ethnography of SFEs' everyday lives. In particular, it examines the backgrounds and current experiences of international employees (IEs) in India's knowledge process offshoring (KPO) industry at work, at home and outside their homes. At work, IEs displayed and created attachments to their work, India and the local through their colleagues and friends. At home, IEs in different company apartments demonstrated various processes of sharing and learning despite cultural and linguistic differences. Outside their homes, IEs engaged in numerous leisure activities revealing IEs' motivations and ways in which IEs adjusted. The study offers two findings. Throughout their activities at work, homes and in India, IEs balanced emotions and reasons, negotiated the global and local and self-flexibility and externally required flexibility. IEs also engaged in friendships to various degrees. Both findings of IEs' activities reveal complex dynamics of SFE adjustment and cosmopolitanism. The findings built the foundation for a new framework to understand SFE cosmopolitanism and international adjustment.

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Original languageEnglish
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Award date1 Aug 2012