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The golden handcuffs? Choice, compliance and relocation amongst transnational professionals and executives

Devadason, R (2017) 'The golden handcuffs? Choice, compliance and relocation amongst transnational professionals and executives.' Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 43 (13). pp. 2265-2282. ISSN 1369-183X

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Abstract

People who routinely cross borders for their jobs are often cast as beneficiaries of globalization. But in a world of economic downturns, un- or underemployment as well as political unrest access to an increasingly global market becomes the personal and organisational solution to a host of unwanted happenings. In these circumstances, it therefore becomes less clear whether the heightened mobility of transnational workers is a benefit or indeed a choice. This article examines the onus placed on employees to be geographically mobile for their jobs. Relocation enables organisations to operate in expanding transnational markets and fields; it is therefore a prerequisite of jobs in an increasing number of sectors. Through systematic comparison of the attitudes to mobility of highly skilled employees in a ‘market’ (corporate) and a ‘moral’ (UN) case-study organisation, this article makes a contribution to our understanding of work orientations in transnational institutions. It interrogates the myth of choice of highly skilled movers and identifies the aspirations, contradictions and dilemmas that are associated with relocating for their jobs. Analysis of biographical interviews in tandem with online survey data elucidates the complex ways that the competing repertoires of choice and compliance are woven into transnational narratives.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

Presented at the Hidden Migration, Data & Policy conference on 9 March, 2017 in Bristol.

Keywords: transnational professionals, choice, mobility, organisations
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2017 15:04
Last Modified: 09 Oct 2017 10:50
Research Dimensions: This article is based on an independent academic research project conducted in a multinational bank and a UN agency (2009-2011). Online survey data and in-depth biographical interviews with transnational professionals are analysed.
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