Understanding Workplace Adaptation as an Acculturation Process: A Qualitative Examination of South Korean Highly Skilled Workers in Japan

  •  Geonsil Lee    
  •  Joonha Park    
  •  Lauren Ban    


Although study on job stress and coping among Highly Skilled Migrants (HSMs) has been increasing around Anglo European countries, little is known about Asian migrants working in Asian countries. The present study examined stress factors among South Korean HSMs in Japan and explored their coping strategies in relation to acculturation processes. Semi-structured interviews with eight participants found three main domains affecting work adaptation-related stress: acculturation and adjustment, life events, and job stress. Job demand, relationship formation, and company climate were identified as major job stress factors. HSMs tended to perceive job stress factors as being related to a cultural difference or unique characteristics of Japanese organizations. This qualitative study addresses an initial step towards researching Asian migrant workers in Japan society, suggesting importance of incorporating culture-specific issues in acculturation processes with their job adjustment issues. It is necessary for immigration policy makers to encourage reciprocal understandings between migrants and local colleagues for improving mental health and well-being of both groups in organizations.

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