Migrants’ motivations and intentions to work virtually for their country of origin

Migrants’ motivations and intentions to work virtually for their country of origin

Kumpikaite-Valiuniene, V., Duobiene, J., Pinnington, A. H., & Lahrech, A. (2020).

 

 

ABSTRACT

 

Purpose

The authors investigate empirically emigrants’ intentions and motivations to work virtually for their country of origin. The study focuses on a country with substantial, persistent emigration and explores theories of diaspora investment motivation and virtual work characteristics.

 

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory questionnaire survey on migrants’ intentions and motivations to work virtually for their country of origin was conducted in late 2016 on 3,022 respondents, all emigrants from Lithuania.

 

Findings

Migrants are more likely to engage in virtual work for their country of origin when they experience negative career satisfaction, perceive the country of origin as their home country, belong to a recent wave of migration and possess occupational skills commonly employed in virtual work.

 

Research limitations/implications

A major limitation of this study conducted on emigrants from one country is that it does not permit generalisation of the results to other countries and regions. It is limited, thus, to making general comparisons to what is known in the literature about migrants from other nations. However, the authors have identified some of the main factors which have theoretical and empirical import for future research, and the auhtors have argued that the results of our study possess only a few inherent geographic limitations. This research is a starting point for studies connecting diaspora motivation and their linkage to virtual work as a mean of human capital gain for the country of origin. The findings inform the conceptual model of virtual workplaces of Kumpikaite-Valiuniene et al. (2014) in relation to migrants and support Nielsen and Riddle’s (2010) migrant diaspora investment motivation theory.

 

Practical implications

Understanding how and when organisations will work virtually with migrants from the country of origin as well as knowing more about their needs and expectations for migrants’ knowledge, skills and work experience are necessary for future research on the attractiveness and potential of virtual work. As a first step in exploring diaspora motivation for virtual work, the authors recommend conducting qualitative research that would investigate more deeply the various motivations migrants can have for virtual work with their country or origin. This study revealed that females are more motivated to work virtually compared to males. However, gender issues have not been explored in this survey and constitute a future study direction.

 

Social implications

Moreover, future research should examine what areas of human capital, commercial and cultural knowledge can be productively delivered by migrants working virtually for organisations in the country of origin, which will contribute to greater understanding of knowledge transfer and human capital issues (“brain gain”) in the migration literature. Further, specific forms of virtual work should be studied empirically for the extent that they provide opportunities for self-development and for satisfaction in personal lives and work careers. In addition, the potential business and societal benefits for the country of origin should be studied further through examining diverse dimensions of family, community, work and careers. These studies will expand knowledge of virtual work and related research phenomena and will contribute to this gap in the migration and human resource management (HRM) literature studies.

 

Originality/value

This research is a starting point for studies connecting diaspora motivation and their linkage to virtual work as a mean of human capital gain for the country of origin. The findings inform the proposed conceptual model of virtual workplaces by Kumpikaite-Valiuniene et al (2014) in relation to migrants and support Nielsen and Riddle (2010) migrant diaspora investment motivation theory. The authors have identified some of the main factors that have theoretical and empirical import for future study. This research topic and new related studies on diaspora have the potential to contribute to the fields of migration, HRM, work and career studies.

 

DOI https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOEM-06-2019-0475

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