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Falling Out of Love with American Utopia: an Insight into Return Migration Intentions of Highly Skilled Asian Indian Immigrants in the United States

By Nishita Rai

Abstract

Losing highly skilled Asian immigrants in the United States (U.S.) to their home country or third country is becoming a concern. Few studies have focused on psychological factors that result in highly skilled immigrant return migration. This research examines the influence of cultural value congruence between home country and host country or the lack thereof, on host country turnover intentions of Asian Indian immigrants in the U.S., both in the immediate and the distant future. The present study is based on the person-environment fit literature with special focus on national cultural value congruence which is seen as essential to immigrants successfully acculturating and deciding to remain in their host country. It was hypothesized that cultural value congruence experienced by immigrants will be related to their host country turnover intentions such that lower congruence with host country cultural values would result in higher host country turnover intentions. The individualism-collectivism scale developed by Triandis and Gelfand (1998) was utilized to measure the horizontal and vertical aspects of individualism and collectivism represented in the immigrants’ home country and host country cultural values. Congruence between these values was calculated using an absolute difference score. A one-shot cross section survey design was utilized to collect data from 153 highly skilled first generation Asian Indian immigrants located throughout the United States. Results confirmed partial support for cultural value congruence and immigrant host country turnover intentions with lower congruence on vertical individualism values resulting in higher immigrant host country turnover intentions in the distant future. No support was found for cultural value congruence on other cultural value subscales – vertical collectivism, horizontal individualism and horizontal collectivism, and host country turnover intentions in the distant future. No support was found for cultural value congruence and host country turnover intentions in the immediate future. In addition, the experience of immigrants in the workplace, specifically perceived workplace discrimination and leader cultural intelligence, were examined for their moderating role in the relationship between cultural value congruence and host country turnover intentions. No support was found for moderator effects of perceived workplace discrimination and leader cultural intelligence as hypothesized in the study. Instead, significant effects were noted for low levels of perceived workplace discrimination on cultural value congruence and host country turnover intentions in the distant future, and high levels of perceived workplace discrimination on cultural value congruence and host country turnover intentions in the immediate future. Significant effects were also noted for low and high leader cultural intelligence on cultural value congruence and immigrant host country turnover intentions in the distant future. The study limitations and directions for future research have also been addressed

Topics: Psychology, Social psychology
Year: 2015
DOI identifier: 10.7916/D8X34WJW
OAI identifier:
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