Go to main navigation Navigation menu Skip navigation Home page Search

Organizations and the inclusion of skilled migrants

Using a labor inclusion program targeting skilled migrants, the project investigates how migrants and managers actively consent the terms of inclusion/exclusion. This research project analyzes two issues: a) the structural barriers faced by skilled migrants amidst organizational efforts to include, and b) managers ability to construct inclusive narratives for an increasingly diverse workforce.

In their efforts to include, organizations construct skilled migrants as motivated professionals. However, good intentions often backlash, generating episodes of exclusion e.g. along ethnic and class lines. Paradoxically, while organizational discourses promote inclusion, power inequality is reproduced leading to exclusion. Therefore, the project poses these two research questions:

  • What forms of everyday consent emerge in organizational inclusion/exclusion processes?
  • How do organizations produce dominant narratives that include/exclude?

The empirical setting is centered in a large organization striving to include skilled migrants and constructing itself as an inclusive workplace. Defining skilled migrants as reflexive agents, the project examines how the terms of inclusion/exclusion are actively consented. To unpack consent, the project critically and reflexively digs deep into the experiences of skilled migrants. This is done through an 18-month ethnography, that combines shadowing, 60 one-on-one interviews, and document analysis. The analysis focuses on organizational practices such as training, recruitment, internal and external communication, and informal gatherings. 

Preliminary insights suggest that class, ethnicity, and migration status are salient for consenting the terms of inclusion/exclusion. These categories seem to lead to inclusion insofar as they are mobilized in a ‘positive’ way. However, they also generate justifications that lead to inequality and the exclusion of skilled migrants.

Project leader:
Miguel Morillas


Morillas, M. and Romani, L. (forthcoming) Ideology, doxa, and critical reflexive learning: the possibilities and limits of thinking that ‘diversity is good’" Management Learning.

Hunger, E., Morillas, M. Romani, L. & Mohsen, M. (2020). Unequal integration: Skilled migrants’ conditional inclusion along the lines of Swedishness, class and ethnicity, in J. Mahadevan, H. Primecz & L. Romani, Cases in Critical Cross-Cultural Management: An Intersectional Approach to Culture, Routledge.

Morillas, M. & Romani, L. (2019). Struggling for recognition: Highly-skilled migrants’ cultural capital in the inclusive organization. https://journals.aom.org/doi/abs/10.5465/AMBPP.2019.17406abstract


Financed by Jan Wallanders and Tom Hedelius foundation and Tore Browaldhs foundation (Handelsbanken).