Adapting to a Finnish workplace : case : occupational immigration of Chinese metal workers.
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The aim of the study was to investigate intercultural adaptation of occupational immigrants to Finnish working life and culture and identify factors that support or hinder the adaptation process. Due to demographic changes in the society and the increasing number of foreigners in Finnish workplaces, the study of occupational immigration is a very contemporary topic. The study was qualitative in nature. 13 Chinese metal workers were interviewed in small groups using a translator in Mandarin Chinese. The respondents had arrived in Finland at different times between 6 and 16 months prior to the interview. The research was conducted with the help of Mänttä Regional Vocational Education Centre which administrates a European Social Fund project for occupational immigration development. They recruited the Chinese to Finnish companies and organised a training programme for them concerning work, language and culture related issues. The applied goal of the research was to find feedback and recommendations for the project on how to support the adaptation process and improve the programme. According to the study there were many communication differences observed between the Finns and Chinese. However, most of the respondents had adapted to the Finnish culture and to these differences rather well. Most respondents were optimistic about their future and thought that having the right attitude is crucial for adaptation. The study found that language plays an important role in the adaptation and both co-national and host support facilitates adaptation to the culture. The training programme was perceived as indispensable but could be further improved by making it closer to practise. The occupational immigrants need support in many levels, both with work and non-work related issues. An intermediary who acts as a link between the two cultures is most useful at the beginning of the stay in the other country. What hinders the adaptation is the lack of appropriate support, language skills and learning opportunities which allow one to gather more knowledge of the other language and culture. ...
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