Acculturation, social dominance, and systemic discrimination at each degree of employment : exploring their roles at different steps towards decent work for skilled Indian migrants in New Zealand : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand
Access to decent work is a major obstacle for skilled Indian migrants e.g., to New Zealand,
but little is known about the key steps through unemployment, under-employment, and full
employment. Unlike previous research which has conglomerated all steps into one, this thesis
explores the roles of acculturation, social dominance, and systemic discrimination in skilled Indian migrants' career trajectory at each step of employment separately, and then combined
them into an overall but graded model.
Taking an exploratory approach, an online questionnaire based on Flanagan's (1954) Critical Incident Technique focused on positive and negative critical incidents of job-hunting at each
step of employment (unemployment, entry-level, intermediate-level, and full employment).
Forty-four skilled Indian migrants completed the survey by providing direct experience of the
positive and negative critical incidents encountered throughout their job-hunting journey.
Eight content analyses were conducted for positive and negative critical incidents in the four
stages of employment.
The themes of networking, work experience, and skills and qualifications were crucial at all
four steps of employment as depicted in Figure 1. However, as skilled Indian migrants
stepped closer to full employment, the themes of work experience and skills and
qualifications emerged more frequently in successful job hunting, rather than being a
consistent barrier from progressing towards full employment in a skilled Indian migrant's job-hunting journey. This is perhaps to be expected since the work experience and skills and
qualifications would be increasingly relevant, as skilled Indian migrants got closer to full
Networking was a consistent theme across all stages of employment. This thesis identified
whom the respondents networked with which informed which acculturation style was used by skilled Indian migrants. When skilled Indian migrants networked with Indian community
members, they adopted the separation acculturation style. When the respondents networked at
an organisational level with recruitment agencies and ex-employers, they adopted the
integration acculturation style.
Systemic discrimination theory was not well supported, as the themes of work experience and
skills and qualifications which were predicted to be systemic barriers, were found to be more
relevant to human capital theory in conjunction with social dominance theory.
Discussion recommends that future studies compare the responses between both skilled
Indian migrants and New Zealand employers. Finally, the findings of the present research
have the potential to be a blueprint for newcomer skilled Indian migrants to form strategic
pathways to attain full employment in New Zealand. The results of this study can be tailored
to the particular stage of employment a newcomer skilled Indian migrant is currently in, and
it can inform them of which job-seeking behaviours best worked at the same stage of
employment for other skilled Indian migrants in New Zealand.