Social Integration of Immigrants within the Linguistically Diverse Workplace: A Systematic Review


  • Vibha Kaushik Ph. D. Student, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4
  • Christine A. Walsh Professor, Associate Dean, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary 2500 University Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4
  • Diana Haefele MLIS Student, Faculty of Information and Media Studies, Western University North Campus Building, Room 240, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5B7



As a consequence of international migration, a large number of workplaces are becoming linguistically diverse. This creates challenges for the workplace integration of immigrants and increases the risk of their social exclusion. A systematic review was conducted to determine the effects of linguistic diversity on social integration of immigrants within the workplace. Articles were identified by reviewing abstracts in electronic databases using key words related to linguistic diversity, social integration, immigrants and workplace. The search yielded ten peer reviewed articles, published in English, between 2000 and 2014. Information was extracted and synthesized from both quantitative and qualitative studies. The studies in this review were found to be concerned on three key areas of investigation: (1) social integration or social inclusion/exclusion, (2) social interaction and inter-group perception, and (3) accent discrimination. Smooth social and professional assimilation and the equality of opportunities for the immigrants were considered as the determining factors of their complete social integration in the workplace. Most studies in this review established a connection between social integration and local language skills; some also identified that factors such as racial discrimination and ethnicity based stereotyping contributed to social exclusion of immigrants, particularly when the studies involved visible minorities. The review enhances our understanding of challenges of complete social integration faced by immigrants and reinforces the need to invest in policies and program aimed at preventing marginalization of immigrants. However, due to limited number of studies identified by this review and the variation in findings, further research is necessary to investigate the role of linguistic diversity in the workplace integration of immigrants in immigrant receiving countries.  


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