Rethinking Highly Skilled (Re-)Migration in the Context of Multinational Enterprises — An Analysis of (Re-)Migrants of Turkish Origin and their Role in German Companies in Turkey

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Title: Rethinking Highly Skilled (Re-)Migration in the Context of Multinational Enterprises — An Analysis of (Re-)Migrants of Turkish Origin and their Role in German Companies in Turkey
Authors: Müller, Philip
Thesis advisor: Prof. Dr. Martin Franz
Thesis referee: Prof. Dr. Sebastian Henn
Abstract: The aim of this dissertation is to contribute to a better understanding of highly skilled (re-)migrants as labour force in multinational enterprises (MNEs) and their role in cross-border knowledge transfers. To achieve this goal, an actor-centred research perspective will be adopted, which allows for a detailed examination of both individual employees and strategies of MNEs. The basic conceptual understanding of this work is based on the relational economic-geographical approach (Bathelt and Glückler 2002), on the basis of which research strands and theories of economic geography, international business studies and migration studies were intertwined. The empirical study is based on the example of highly skilled (re-)migrants of Turkish origin who work for German companies in Turkey. The study focuses on (re-)migrants of Turkish origin who have obtained a university degree in Germany. The study follows a qualitative research design based on 95 semi-structured interviews. The interviews were conducted with highly skilled (re-)migrants as well as with company internal and external experts. In addition to the semi-structured interviews, a netnographic collection of data from an online group for (re-)migrants of Turkish origin is conducted. The findings of this thesis show that highly skilled (re-)migrants of Turkish origin who have obtained a university degree in Germany are not to be regarded as a homogeneous group but rather have diverse educational and career paths. In addition to their high level of education, they have excellent language skills (mostly Turkish, German and English). They are also mostly familiar with the cultural and institutional contexts in Germany and Turkey, which, according to Hess (2004), is referred to as dual societal embeddedness. Highly skilled (re-)migrants of Turkish origin are important transnational experts for German companies in Turkey. They are particularly in demand if the companies 1) have a strong orientation towards German-speaking markets and/or 2) are dependent on close cooperation with German company locations. In these companies, highly skilled (re-)migrants of Turkish origin are strategically deployed in central areas of the company, where they often work at interfaces due to their transnational abilities, which require close contact with local employees and employees of German company locations. The empirical results also show that highly skilled (re-)migrants of Turkish origin make a significant contribution to the cross-border knowledge transfers in German companies in Turkey. Highly skilled (re-)migrants of Turkish origin are primarily involved in intra-organisational knowledge transfer with employees of German company locations. Due to their dual societal embeddedness and their profound language skills, highly skilled (re-)migrants are able to bridge the institutional distance between German and Turkish company locations. This is particularly important for the transfer of implicit knowledge, which is based on know-how and experience and is therefore difficult to transfer between different cultural and institutional contexts. In concrete terms, highly skilled (re-)migrants of Turkish origin facilitate cross-border knowledge transfers through three main activities: building knowledge networks, mediating frictions, transmitting knowledge. The results of a case study also show that highly skilled (re-)migrants can play a decisive role in the offshoring of knowledge intensive business services within global production networks Thereby, highly skilled (re-)migrants help to mitigate resistance and facilitate the dis- and re-embedding of knowledge within the offshoring process. Overall, this thesis contributes to the geographical (re-)migration research, to research on the geography of knowledge in MNEs, and to global production network research.
URL: https://repositorium.ub.uni-osnabrueck.de/handle/urn:nbn:de:gbv:700-202002192601
Subject Keywords: highly skilled (re-)migration; cross-border knowledge transfers; multinational enterprises; global production networks; Turkey; Germany
Issue Date: 19-Feb-2020
Type of publication: Dissertation oder Habilitation [doctoralThesis]
Appears in Collections:FB01 - E-Dissertationen

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