you have to face the fact that you're a foreigner: Immigrants’ Lived Experience of Communication and Negotiation Position Toward their Employer in Iceland

Erla S. Kristjansdottir (1), Thora Christiansen (2)
(1) School of Business University of Iceland, Iceland,
(2) School of Business University of Iceland, Iceland


There is a growing need for highly skilled employees in the Icelandic labor market which will increasingly need to be filled by highly skilled immigrants. Despite offering knowledge and skills that are in demand, there are indications that these immigrants are facing barriers when it comes to compensation, opportunities and promotions. The study seeks to explore how highly skilled immigrants in Iceland experience their negotiation opportunities, their negotiation position and communication with their employers. Twelve in-depth interviews were conducted with immigrants from other European countries. The interviews were analyzed and interpreted according to phenomenological methodology. Four themes emerged in respondents’ perception; Icelandic, “accent free,” “you have to face the fact that you´re a foreigner…” “everybody has this little kind of kingdom…” and feeling of never being good enough.

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Erla S. Kristjansdottir (Primary Contact)
Thora Christiansen
Author Biographies

Erla S. Kristjansdottir, School of Business University of Iceland

Erla S. Kristjansdottir (Ph.D. Arizona State University) is an assistant professor in the School of Business at University of Iceland. Her research and teaching interests are in culture, intercultural communication, diversity, intercultural transitions: adaptation and reentry. She has extended her research on cultural adaptation, communication and identity to a variety of contexts (international education, national/cultural disasters and international business): immigrant groups in Iceland, Katrina victims in the U.S., and business personnel in multinational organizations.

Thora Christiansen, School of Business University of Iceland

Thora Christiansen (MA Emerson College in Boston and a Ph.D. candidate) is an adjunct lecturer in the School of Business at University of Iceland where she teaches courses in intercultural communication and negotiation. Her research has focused on negotiation; motivation and gender differences, cultural differences, and communication.

Kristjansdottir, E. S., & Christiansen, T. (2017). you have to face the fact that you’re a foreigner: Immigrants’ Lived Experience of Communication and Negotiation Position Toward their Employer in Iceland. Journal of Intercultural Communication, 17(2), 1–14.

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