84 research outputs found

    Moving on up? Exploring the career journeys of skilled migrants in the professions

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    Service nepotism in cosmopolitan transient social spaces

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    © 2016, © The Author(s) 2016. This article examines service nepotism, the practice of bestowing gifts or benefits on customers by frontline service staff based on a perceived shared socio-collective identity. Adopting a micro-sociological approach, it explores the practice as played out in multi-cultural transient service encounters. Given the dearth of existing research and low visibility of service nepotism operating ‘under the radar’, the article assumes an exploratory qualitative research approach to capture it through ‘microstoria’: the sharing of stories by marginal actors, as recounted by West African migrants working in the UK. These stories reveal similarity-to-self cueing, non-verbal communication and the availability of discretionary authority as three salient logics in play. In a highly differentiated multi-ethnic society, service nepotism challenges a very specific customer-oriented bureaucratic ethos that demands impartiality. It also provides contexts for relatively powerless employees to rebalance their relationship with their organizations, thereby addressing a more pressing dysfunction within the market and society more generally

    Service nepotism in the multi-ethnic marketplace: Mentalities and motivations

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    Purpose– The purpose of this paper is to emphasize the multi-ethnic marketplace as the site of the emergence of service nepotism: the practice where employees bestow relational benefits and/or gifts on customers on the basis that they share a perceived common socio-collective identity. The authors draw on the contemporary turn to practice in social theory to explore why ethnic employees may engage in service nepotism even when they are aware that it contravenes organizational policy.Design/methodology/approach– Given the paucity of empirical research which investigates the multi-ethnic marketplace as a locus for the emergence of service nepotism, the authors adopted an exploratory qualitative research approach to advance insight into service nepotism. The study benefits from its empirical focus on West African migrants in the UK who represent a distinct minority group living in urban areas of the developed world. Data for the study were collected over a six-month period, utilizing semi-structured interviews as the primary method of data collection.Findings– The research highlights the occurrence and complexities of service nepotism in the multi-ethnic marketplace, and identifies four distinct activities (marginal revolution, reciprocal altruism, pandering for recognition, and horizontal comradeship), that motivate ethnic employees to engage in service nepotism, despite their awareness that this conflicts with organizational policy.Research limitations/implications– By virtue of the chosen theoretical lens, the authors were unable to demonstrate how service nepotism could be observed outside spoken language. Also, care should be taken in generalizing the findings from this study given the particularities of the sub-group involved. For example, since the study is based on a small sample of first generation migrants, the findings may not hold true for their offspring, whose socialization and marketplace experiences may be qualitatively different from those of their parents.Practical implications– Service nepotism challenges fundamental western egalitarian ideals in the multi-ethnic marketplace. Organizations may wish to develop strategies to placate observers’ concerns of creeping favouritism in a supposedly equitable marketplace. The research could also serve as a starting point for managers objectively to assess the likely impact of service nepotism on the organizing value systems and competitiveness. In particular, the authors suggest that international marketing managers would do well to look beneath the surface to see what is really going on in international marketplaces, since ostensible experiences of marketplace consumption may not always reflect underlying reality.Originality/value– By using service nepotism as an analytical category to explore the marketplace experiences of ethnic service employees living and working in industrialized societies, the research shows that the practice of service nepotism, whilst taken for granted, can have far-reaching impact on individuals, observers, and service organizations in an increasingly highly differentiated multi-ethnic society

    Relational interdependencies and the intra-EU mobility of African European Citizens

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    How can we better understand the puzzle of low-skilled migrants who have acquired citizenship in a European Union country, often with generous social security provision, choosing to relocate to the United Kingdom? Drawing on Elias’s figurational theory as a lens, we explore how relational interdependencies foster the mobility of low-skilled African European Citizens from European Union states to the United Kingdom. We found that African European Citizens rely on ‘piblings networks’, loose affiliations of putative relatives, to compensate for deficits in their situated social capital, facilitating relocation. The temporary stability afforded by impermanent bonds and transient associations, in constant flux in migrant communities, does not preclude integration but paradoxically promotes it by enabling an ease of connection and disconnection. Our study elucidates how these relational networks offer African European Citizens opportunities to achieve labour market integration, exercise self-efficacy, and realize desired futures; anchoring individuals in existing communities even when they are perpetually transforming

    The Mabey and Johnson bribery Scandal: A Case of Executive Hubris

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    Convicted for paying bribes to secure contracts abroad, Mabey and Johnson (M&J), a UK construction firm, made both legal and international business history. Drawing on hubris as a lens, we examine M&J’s bribery scandal in Ghana and Jamaica. Through a qualitative study of court documents, witness statements, newspaper articles, and internal company emails, we unpack the bribery scheme operated by M&J executives that enabled the firm to illegitimately win major government contracts in Ghana and Jamaica. Fuelled by executive hubris, we found M&J’s practice of bribing foreign officials to secure contracts effectively insulated M&J executives from day-to-day realities. Overtime, the firm’s executives viewed themselves as infallible, exempt from established mores, invincible, and unremorseful for their actions. Building on these findings; we develop a hubris-bribery heuristic framework showing how individual, organizational, and institutional context constitutively fuelled executive hubris to drive bribery at M&J. The implication for theory and practice are examined

    Defying the gloom: In search of the ‘golden’ practices of small-scale mining operations

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    Dominant narratives on artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) often portray mining regions as ‘informal’ zones that suffer massively from environmental degradation problems. Such insistence on the poor environmental performance of ASM zones has dovetailed with a lack of scholarly attention to some of the ‘golden’ environmental management practices taking place in some of these mining areas. In this paper, we explore how the operations of a formalised (registered) small-scale mining operator in Ghana, as objectified in its obligatory and ethical functions, contribute to reducing pollution and mine-degraded landscapes, which have long been viewed as the inevitable consequence of ASM. Emphasizing how the dynamic interplay between resources and environmental demands may come to support public policy, our study shows how mutually constituting demands on mining in highly differentiated contexts could translate into productive outcomes. Contrary to the popular perception that ASM operators are not good stewards of the environment, findings from our study suggest that these operators can be caretakers of the environment and local communities through land reclamation mechanisms. Localisation of labour could, however, contribute to more sustainable livelihoods in mining communities and help curb rising community tensions

    The three pointers of research and development (R&D) for growth-boosting sustainable innovation system

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    Research and development (R&D) is frequently touted and labelled as the fundamental engine for creating sustainable innovations and achieving climate transitions. Yet, recent R&D efforts have struggled to live up to the widespread life-altering results they delivered in the 1960s when the term R&D was coined. In our attempt to address this concern, we propose a sustainability pathway model to achieving an economically viable innovation system that is anchored in three important pointers of R&D which have long been viewed as mutually distinct components in R&D budgets—investment, talent, and learning institutions. Directing attention to the pervasive need to align R&D investments with talents and learning institutions, we delineate how these pointers of R&D coming together to constitute a trivalent force may drive a growth-boosting sustainable innovation system. While there is no simple recipe which suggests an optimal combination of new scientific understanding, technologies, and process that could help produce the much-needed innovations and technological change, we present a set of propositions that highlights opportunities for reflection on existing R&D investment strategies and serves as a bridge to connect the emergent scholarship on sustainability with the intellectual traditions of R&D in innovation management

    Cocoa production, farmlands, and the galamsey: Examining current and emerging trends in the ASM-agriculture nexus

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    In this paper, we build on the diverse discussions on the nexus between artisanal and small-scale mining and agriculture to examine emerging relationships between mining operators, smallholder cocoa farmers, and landowners in rural cocoa-growing communities. Empirically, we draw on fresh insights from in-depth interviews with loosely coupled chain actors in Ghana's cocoa and mining sectors, we found what we call ‘coerced to sell’ strategies deployed by miners in the acquisition of farmlands for their operations. We go further to shed light on the employment trajectories of the new breed of landless farmers, and the emerging diversification strategies of landowners. Implications of our findings for the policy and practice of ASM and farmlands are outlined
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