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Title: Migration and stress among corporate employees
Author: Ford, Reuben
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 1992
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Globalisation of business interests has resulted in new trends in international mobility of the highly skilled. Skilled flows can no longer be seen as the combined result of individual decision-making processes. Rather, the rise of the multinational since the Second World War has ensured that the majority of skilled worker mobility across borders is as the result of inter- and intra-organisational relocation, transfer and travel policies: company strategies applied to fulfil corporate aims. Skilled employees of such companies are participants in a mobility process closely related to paths of career development, in which mobility has a dramatic impact upon their relationship with their employer, with their family and upon their career. This thesis argues that such mobility brings about changes in the relationship of the individual with their immediate environment (organisation, family and career) and alters the physical space within which these relationships take place. These changes are hypothesised to generate stress in line with established theories of stress generation through role strain and conflict. The study isolates a set of potentially stressful life events and records their occurrence, and the incidence of stress symptoms across a sample of skilled corporate employees undertaking international mobility. Quantitative and qualitative methods are used to establish the relationship between mobility events and stress. New patterns of international mobility among the highly skilled are analysed before policies and trends at the level of individual companies are examined. Depth interviews are used to establish the meaning of frequent and peripatetic patterns of migration and travel to employees and their families. Diaries are used to quantify the occurrence of mobility events and short-term stress symptoms and determine the temporal relationship between them. Survey evidence points to a complex relationship between mobility event experience and short-term stress symptoms. Stress outcome is dependent upon the types of mobility undertaken, but also prior experience of mobility, other person variables and the support offered by firms. The study questions the efficiency of corporate mobility policy which ignores its impact on the well¬being of those employees on the front line of change. The need to look beyond the individual's role within the organisation and of the effect of culture change is shown. Mobility alters the temporal and spatial context within which the balancing of corporate and own career needs with family needs is undertaken. The study goes some way towards enabling these needs to be quantified and considered comprehensively in the mobility decision. In these ways the debate about the management and support of mobility in the short term, and the use of mobility in the long term is informed. A quantitative device is developed which has the ability to aid this decision-making process. The thesis thus highlights the need for, and feasibility of, policy mechanisms which address the effect of mobility upon all actors in the system and which manage geographical changes at the individual level to those which can be operationally justified and adequately supported.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Industrial medicine