Making Critical Sense of Immigrant Experience: A Case Study of Hong Kong Chinese in Canada

Rosalie K.S. Hilde
Thompson Rivers University, Canada

Product Details
21 Nov 2017
Emerald Publishing Limited
184 pages - 152 x 229mm
Critical Management Studies
This book showcases a critical sensemaking (CSM) study of how professional immigrants from Hong Kong to Canada make sense of their workplace experiences, and what this can tell us about why a substantial number leave in their first year in Canada. An analysis of the interviews demonstrates that immigrants’ identities are grounded by contextual sensemaking elements. Data show that informants have accepted unchallenged assumptions: (1) that the government is providing help for them to “get in” the workplace; and (2) that the ethnic service organizations are offering positive guidance to their workplace opportunities. At the organizational level, a master discourse emphasizing integration has mediated immigrants’ struggles. Within these frustrations, many have internalized a hidden discourse of inadequate or deficient selves and adopted a sacrificial position to maintain a positive sense of identity.
The study concludes that a critical sensemaking approach allows greater insights into immigration processes than realist surveys, which tend to impose a pre-packaged sense of the immigrant experience. Through critical sensemaking, readers are encouraged to rethink the current role of ethnic service organizations in the immigration system.
Chapter 1: Introduction and Outline 
1.1 An Overview of Contemporary Immigrant Issues
1.2 Introduction to the Study
1.3 The Contribution of This Study
1.4 An Insider’s Voice
1.5 Some Definitions
1.6 Outline of the Chapters

Chapter 2: Deconstructing Immigrant Identity Work
2.1 Overview of This Chapter
2.2 Theme One: Structural Approaches to Visible Minority Immigrants
2.3 Theme Two: Identity Construction through Social Constructionism
2.4 Theme Three: Poststructuralist Literature on Identity Work

Chapter 3: Methodological Approach
3.1 Overview of This Chapter
3.2 The Poststructuralist Perspective
3.3 Critical Sensemaking as a Conceptual Framework

Chapter 4: Research Design 
4.1 My Access and the Informants 
4.2 Translation and Transcription
4.3 Other Texts
4.4 Ethical Considerations and Reflexivity
4.5 Data Analysis

Chapter 5: Capturing the Discursive Elements of the Formative Context Retrospectively
5.1 Formative Context
5.2 The History of Chinese Immigrants in Canada and Canadian Immigration Policy
5.3 Immigrant Interview Accounts
5.4 The Political Sense of the Chinese Administration
5.5 The Lifestyle Discourse
5.6 In the Shadow of Whiteness: The Colonial Influence
5.7 Hong Kong’s Workplace Culture and Work Identity

Chapter 6: Searching for Plausible Cues and Institutional Rules: The Politics of Normality
6.1 The Institutional Field and the Notion of a Deficient Self
6.2 Organizational Rules and Funding Requirements
6.3 The Dominant Discourse of Integration
6.4 A Silent Discourse of Exploitation

Chapter 7: Agency and Identity Labels: The Micro-Processes of Resistance
7.1 Identity Labels
7.2 The In-Between Self
7.3 The Cost of Immigration
7.4 Ignorance Is Strength: Inside the Boundaries of Acceptance

Chapter 8: Unpacking Workplace Inequality
8.1 Making Critical Sense of Workplace Inequality
8.2 Critical Implications
8.3 Contributions



Appendix A: Unstructured Interview Questions
Appendix B: Summary of Informants

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