Exploring Ugandan Cultural Model of Work through Interviews with Ugandan Immigrants in Canada
The problem of chronic unemployment and low wages among immigrants in Canada is widely discussed in academia and official reports. Culture, as one of the factors proposed to account for the existing employment and wage gaps between immigrants and Canadian-born population, remains poorly understood. The current study contributes to the understanding of this factor by applying a theory of cultural models to explore Ugandan cultural model of work through interviews with Ugandan immigrants in Canada. The researcher adopted an outsider-to-insider position and employed person-centered interviewing to generate data. Linguistic analysis of keywords, metaphors, reasoning, and descriptions of behaviors was used to uncover the public aspect of the cultural model of work in Uganda. Results of the study suggest that the cultural model of work in Uganda has a tri-dimensional structure, with vertical and horizontal dimensions reflecting relationships based on hierarchy, and a third dimension reflecting relationships based on belonging to a group. The model’s terminal values of power, authority, and respect and dominant feelings of fear and belongingness serve as major motivating factors at the workplace. Results of the study are discussed in the context of immigrant integration into the Canadian labour market. Strengths and weaknesses of employed theory and methodology are discussed and recommendations for the theory development are given. In addition, comparative analysis of Canadian and Ugandan cultural models of work is recommended to inform the problem of immigrant unemployment and low wages among immigrants in Canada.
Uganda, employment, cultural model of work, theory of cultural models, immigrants, Canada
Master of Arts (M.A.)