Developing mobility power tactics and strategies: the experiences of Central Eastern European workers in Scotland



Baxter-Reid H (2022) Developing mobility power tactics and strategies: the experiences of Central Eastern European workers in Scotland. Employee Relations, 44 (1), pp. 244-258.

Purpose The purpose of this article is to examine the tactics and strategies utilised by Central Eastern European (CEE) migrant workers as they strive to develop their mobility power within the employment relationship and outside of the workplace. Design/methodology/approach Data is drawn from three qualitative organisational case studies. In total 70 interviews with migrant workers, managers and HR staff were undertaken. There were also nine focus groups with migrant workers across the case studies. Findings Developing mobility power is not straightforward, particularly in the context of hard HRM strategies. The majority of CEE workers across the case studies viewed the employment relationship as temporary; however, people found it difficult to develop the mobility power necessary to leave and move to a better job. This can be attributed to a combination of people's individual subjective factors and employment in occupations with limited structural and associational power. Originality/value This article engages with debates concerning the agency of migrant workers. Existing studies have focused upon the way in which migrant workers utilise mobility power to leave unfavourable employers. However, this article builds upon current debates by examining how migrant workers develop their mobility power. There is also consideration of the individual and collective dimensions of power

Migrant workers; Labour mobility; Agency; European migration; Mobility power

Employee Relations: Volume 44, Issue 1

FundersEconomic and Social Research Council
Publication date11/01/2022
Publication date online31/08/2021
Date accepted by journal18/06/2021

People (1)


Dr Hazel Baxter-Reid
Dr Hazel Baxter-Reid

Lecturer in Organisational Behaviour, Management, Work and Organisation