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Coping with Coping: International Migrants’ Experiences of the Covid-19 Lockdown in the UK

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Suraksha Gupta



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2021 The Authors. British Journal of Management published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Academy of ManagementGlobally, policymakers have overlooked the challenges faced by international migrants in host countries during the Covid-19 pandemic. The policies and support systems designed by host governments highlight the lack of social justice and raise concerns for scholarly attention. Considering the experiences of international migrants living in the UK during the Covid-19 lockdown from the theoretical perspective of coping, this interpretivist study investigates international migrants’ coping strategies adopted during the first UK national lockdown. Data collected from 60 Chinese, Italian and Iranian migrants using semi-structured interviews during the lockdown period were analysed thematically using NVivo. The findings show that migrants adopted multi-layered and multi-phase coping strategies. To cope with the anxiety and uncertainties caused by the pandemic, they initiated new practices informed by both home and host institution logics. Nevertheless, the hostile context's responses provoked unexpected new worries and triggered the adoption of additional and compromising practices. The paper illustrates how coping became paradoxical because migrants had to cope with the hostile reactions that their initial coping strategies provoked in the host environment. By introducing the new concept of coping with coping, this paper extends previous theoretical debate and leads to several managerial implications for governments and policymakers.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Yen DA-W, Cappellini B, Yang H-P, Gupta S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Management

Year: 2021

Pages: epub ahead of print

Online publication date: 25/05/2021

Acceptance date: 07/04/2021

Date deposited: 29/06/2021

ISSN (print): 1045-3172

ISSN (electronic): 1467-8551

Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd


DOI: 10.1111/1467-8551.12512


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