Exploring the communicative ecology of migrant workers in Hawkes Bay : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Business Studies in Communication at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Thumbnail Image
Open Access Location
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Massey University
The Author
Migrant workers are an important aspect of New Zealand life – whether working in horticulture or business, they bring in new knowledge and skills that help to our country to grow – therefore, we should be assisting in their growth in return. Numerous studies and news articles reflect the negative experiences of migrant workers, often referring to communication barriers. This study answers the research question of how workplace communication ecology influences migrant workers in Hawkes Bay through narrative qualitative research. From an organisational and intercultural lens, the researcher is able to map the communication processes and tasks facing migrant workers through discourse, technological, and social areas. Once identified, the participants gave deep insights into how the processes throughout these aspects effect their workplace satisfaction through a Likert-style questionnaire. Workplace communicative ecology appears to effect migrant workers on numerous levels. Themes uncovered in discourse related to employment processes, contracts and policy documents, and the language used within these. Additionally, narratives uncovered specific issues regarding paralinguistics and unique language features, indicating New Zealand employers of migrant workers should be trained on how to adjust these to create better understanding for migrant workers. In the social ecology, migrant workers expressed the importance of connecting in and out of work through activities that enable them to better understand one another. Additionally, migrant worker employers were able to give their insights into the importance of knowing their workers on a social level, understanding their situations and motivation to migrate, so they can better apply resources to increase the satisfaction of these workers. In the technological aspect, it was uncovered that a lack or abundance of technology heavily impacts migrant workers, so finding the right balance for each worker and workplace context is important.