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Coping with Coping: International migrants’ experiences of the Covid-19 lockdown in the UK

Yen, D. and Cappellini, B. and Yang, H. and Gupta, S. (2021) 'Coping with Coping: International migrants’ experiences of the Covid-19 lockdown in the UK.', British journal of management., 32 (4). pp. 1219-1241.


Globally, policy makers 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 sixty 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-phased 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 policy makers.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo
(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.
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Full text:(VoR) Version of Record
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.
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Publisher statement:© 2021 The Authors. British Journal of Management published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Academy of Management This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date accepted:08 April 2021
Date deposited:08 April 2021
Date of first online publication:25 May 2021
Date first made open access:06 October 2021

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