Organizational dissent and workplace freedom of speech : a qualitative study of young professional intra-urban migrant workers in Shanghai
Chinese economy reform triggered the largest domestic labor migration in human history. These 150 million migrant workers are treated as second-rate citizens in urban cities because of the discriminatory household registration system: Hukou. Previous studies have predominantly focused on blue-collar migrants while the professional workers, the potential permanent city dwellers, received little attention. This study attempts to fill this gap by exploring the perception of workplace freedom and preference of dissent strategy among professional migrant workers in Shanghai. Eight young and well-educated migrants participated in this study through semi-structured online interviews. This study not only tested organizational dissent and workplace freedom of speech in a new cultural setting but also employed a qualitative method with the aim to exploring the complexity of dissent event. The results of this study revealed the traditional Confucianism norms and values are significant in shaping migrant worker’s organizational dissent expression and perception of workplace freedom of speech. Furthermore, this study uncovered both local dialect and hukou system are responsible for the social segregation between migrants and local citizens. The outcomes of this study suggest organizations should take the national culture into consideration in order to facilitate authentic democratic climate in workplaces. Moreover, further hukou reform is urged to improve migrant workers’ living condition in urban cities in China. ...
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