Purdue University Graduate School
Li MS 2020.pdf (435.29 kB)

A Psychological Needs Framework for Refugee Integration in the Workplace

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posted on 2020-12-15, 20:29 authored by Sharon LiSharon Li

In the face of an increasingly pressing refugee crisis, host organizations have become a key context for refugee integration (Bimrose & McNair, 2011). Successful integration is critical to refugees’ well-being. However, our theoretical understanding of this process is still limited. This is partly because research centering on refugees is scarce, and the literature lacks a unifying framework to explain how varied integration practices could address refugee needs. To address this gap, the current study applies self-determination theory (SDT) to systematically understand how organizational practices may support refugees’ autonomy, competence, and relatedness needs. To do so, I examine refugee (vs. non-refugee) perceptions of organizational support helpfulness and explore its underlying processes (e.g., needs deprivation, work centrality). Findings suggest that refugees tend to view autonomy and relatedness practices as especially helpful, and these relationships are mediated through higher work centrality. I conclude with a discussion of the theoretical and practical implications of the findings for refugee workplace integration.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Psychological Sciences

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Franki Kung

Additional Committee Member 2

Louis Tay

Additional Committee Member 3

Chelsea Song