Combining social capital theory and immigration history and theory a qualitative study was conducted using a variation of Critical Incident Technique to identify the motivations of individuals in rural communities who championed community responses to the influx of large immigrant populations. Twenty-eight individuals identified as key champions in two rural communities were interviewed to determine, how they as formal or non-formal leaders sanctioned, promoted, supported, and encouraged others to engage in successful strategies to ease successful transitions of new immigrants into their communities. Interviews determined what individual champions did, how they did it, and their sources of motivation.
Data analysis revealed three themes: 1) Fear of change in the community; 2) Collaboration as the road to success; 3) Communities and schools recognizing immigrants as key to continued growth. Analysis also revealed two key components influencing leaders to intentionally work with immigrant integration: 1) An understanding of their own immigration history; and 2) a previous experience of caring for or being "the other." These factors helped create the linking networks or weak ties between the host community and the immigrant communities.
The findings and recommendations provide insight and recommendations for weaving diversity into community development and leadership programs that business leaders and other stakeholders in rural communities can use. Community leadership programs must be intentional in providing cross-cultural education for participants. The curriculum must include participants deliberating, getting to know their own cultural values, cultural communication patterns, personal and national immigration history, and diverse ways of looking at the world. In addition community leaders need opportunities to learn what it means to be the outsider.
University of Minnesota Ed.D. dissertation. February 2011. Major: Education, Work/Community/Family Education. Advisor: Dr. Rosemarie Park. 1 computer file (PDF); xii, 181 pages, appendices 1-4 pages.
Laeger-Hagemeister, Mary A..
Social capital networking and immigrant populations in rural Minnesota : a qualitative research project..
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