The motivation to migrate, acculturation, and finding employment : the case of African migrants in New Zealand : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of a Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University
The present study tested a model whereby Psychological Acculturation mediated the relationship between the Psychological Motives to Migrate and the Employment Outcome of African migrants in New Zealand. These concepts had not been previously studied together. Job search strategies, interview behaviours, qualifications and duration of time in the host country are principally known as predictors of employment outcome; therefore, their impacts were also taken into consideration. One hundred and five African migrants completed a questionnaire, which included a number of reliable measures used to assess the concepts of: (a) Psychological Motives to Migrate (Tharmaseelan, 2005), (b) Psychological Acculturation preferences (Ward & Rana-Deuba, 1999) and (c) Employment Outcome (Mace, 2004; Tharmaseelan, 2005). Job search strategies and interview behaviours were assessed with Mace's (2004) measures. Multivariate analyses showed that over and above demographic migration categories (economic, family, humanitarian, student and visitor), psychological motives to migrate (financial betterment, family building, exploration and escaping) predicted acculturation preferences. Specifically, voluntary migrants (those motivated by 'family building' and 'exploration') preferred to adapt to New Zealand culture, while less voluntary migrants (those motivated by 'escaping') had a higher preference to maintain their culture of origin. Acculturation preferences were not found to mediate the relationship between motives to migrate and employment outcome. The predicted links to employment outcome were not supported. Duration of time in New Zealand was correlated with acculturation preferences. Implications of the findings point to the fundamentally of assessing reasons to migrate from a psychological perspective, and also provide important linkages between motivational theory and acculturation theory. The implication must however be interpreted cautiously as per the limitations of the study. It was recommended that future researchers test the same model with improved measures and with a larger sample. In addition, future researchers could assess and compare the acculturation preferences and employment experiences of the 1.5 generation and their adult parents.