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The Golden Handcuffs what makes transnational professionals keep on moving? Ranji Devadason

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Presentation on theme: "The Golden Handcuffs what makes transnational professionals keep on moving? Ranji Devadason"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Golden Handcuffs what makes transnational professionals keep on moving? Ranji Devadason

2 To know me is to fly with me. This is where I live. All the things you probably hate about flying … are warm reminders that I am home. Up in the Air (2009) Jason Reitman

3 Migration for a job or employer is, arguably, the most significant way in which employment structures a persons biography and social milieu.

4 Yet studies of migration tend to reproduce comfortable categories of community and belonging and neglect what is going on across borders (Amit 2007)

5 Transnational Capitalist Class Sklair (2001) Corporate executives Globalising bureaucrats and politicians Globalizing professionals and Consumer elites Masters of the universe in charge of their destinies and destinations.

6 The Data Online survey data with transnational professionals in two organisations: moral (UN agency) and market (MNC) (n= 138). Biographical interviews with a subset of respondents conducted in London, Dubai, Geneva and Johannesburg.

7 The Sample Moral (n= 48) Market (n=90) Gender ratio (M:F)1:12:1 Education: graduate post-graduate 27 % 63 % 24 % 66 % Age: 20-40 years 40-60 years 27 % 73 % 66 % 34% Region: Global North Global South 60 % 40 % 76 % 24 % The gender balance is even in the moral organisation; ¾ of market transnationals are men. Market transnationals have a much younger age profile than moral transnationals (¾ > 40 yrs) Professionals in both organisations are highly educated. Region of origin: >2/3 hold citizenship in the Global North, thus, a significant proportion is from Global South. Relationship status: ½ of women in both organisations are single whereas ¾ men in a relationship (some living apart)

8 The problem As the drivers and beneficiaries of economic globalization transnational professionals privileged position is presumed to protect them from its discontents. Their agency – or indeed lack of it – is rarely acknowledged, despite the hegemony of capitalism and organisational agendas to which they submit.

9 James, 45, corporate executive I think in the last 12 months I've done 40 return flights and the shortest distance is 4 hours. So this week I flew out on Sunday morning to Nairobi, I had two days in Nairobi, I flew overnight back here, landed half five Monday morning to be in the office at 9 o'clock, left the office last night at 7 and I will leave tonight at 7 o'clock and I've got a [conference] call tomorrow [at the weekend], so that's the pattern for senior management in this business unit... It's just the way of the world. I think unless one makes a big work life balance decision, then – if you want to earn the money – that's what you have to do.

10 John, 57, UN director The travel itself is quite nauseous – you know when people hear you travel a lot they think that's a wonderful job – [but] in reality, spending your time in airports, planes, conference rooms and meetings is not a huge amount of fun - if you have to do it regularly... Everythings about the dollar.

11 Two types of choice How much choice do you have over: 1. the country or countries you have relocated to for your job? 2.the amount of business travel that you do?

12 Choice about countries (Moral)

13 Choice about travel (Moral)

14 Choice about travel (Market)

15 Choice about countries (Market)

16 The influence of choice on job satisfaction (JS) JS includes: sense of achievement, influence, progress in the organisation, income etc… Lack of choice correlates with dissatisfaction about work-life balance in the Moral Organisation. But no other dimensions of job satisfaction are significantly diminished by lack of choice.

17 What makes transnational professionals keep on moving? OrientationsReasons for accepting assignments InstrumentalIncome, material benefits and promotion ProfessionalGaining professional experience and skills Biographical and Cosmopolitan To see the world in tandem with an openness to difference

18 Instrumental It was a promotion and I viewed it as an opportunity to add value to my career to date. The opportunities outweighed the downside of the actual location which was not otherwise somewhere I would have wanted to live and work. James, 45, Corporate Executive

19 Professional Working in different countries gives me the ability to compare how one subject matter is dealt with in different jurisdictions. This makes me very confident when I speak about my field of expertise because I have seen things from different perspectives. Adeyemo, 32, Corporate Executive

20 Biographical and Cosmopolitan I had... always planned at some point to live outside of my home country in order to learn about, experience and enjoy other cultures. The reason that career advancement, future career advancement and generous benefits package are marked not very important is that my current job is less responsibility and has a smaller benefits package than my prior job. Helen, 47, Corporate Senior Executive

21 Emotional and biographical work? Narratives and description are more likely to be offered – to explain their reasons for accepting assignments – by those who report limited choice. Organisational bureaucracy and market demand shape employee choices and cultivate compliance regarding mobility.

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