Journal of International Business Studies

, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 151–168 | Cite as

Qualified immigrants’ success: Exploring the motivation to migrate and to integrate

  • Jean-Luc Cerdin
  • Manel Abdeljalil Diné
  • Chris Brewster


High-quality employees with international experience bring valuable advantages to internationally operating organizations. The growing number and importance of immigrants, and particularly qualified, university-educated immigrants, deserves more attention from international business practitioners and scholars. The market for highly qualified people within MNCs is increasingly becoming international, and ever more of them have migrated to a new country to advance their career. Such employees can be a source of competitive advantage for international firms. We use qualitative research with qualified immigrants (QIs) in France to argue that the success of QIs depends in large part on their motivation to integrate into their host country, which is largely explained by their motivation to migrate. From the qualitative data we derive four different types of qualified migrant, and suggest that the type will determine the success of the immigrant within, and outside, the organization. The relationship between the motivation to migrate and the motivation to integrate is moderated by “met expectations” and “organizational integration policies”, such that the effects of these, in turn, vary with type. Recognition of the types of QI and the moderating factors will be valuable for practitioners, as well as opening up research avenues for scholars.


qualified immigrant motivation to migrate motivation to integrate organizational integration policies research methods qualitative/quantitative comparisons 



We are grateful to Editor David Thomas, and to three anonymous reviewers, whose time, care and insights have contributed greatly to this paper.


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Copyright information

© Academy of International Business 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Luc Cerdin
    • 1
  • Manel Abdeljalil Diné
    • 2
  • Chris Brewster
    • 3
  1. 1.Management DepartmentESSEC Business SchoolCergy-PontoiseFrance
  2. 2.COACTIS, University of Jean Monnet Saint-EtienneSaint-EtienneFrance
  3. 3.Henley Business School, University of ReadingReadingUK

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