Potential immigrants increasingly rely on online technologies to access needed information as they have limited access to offline sources of information at the pre-arrival stage. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role of online discussion forums in facilitating potential immigrants’ access to relevant information about the host country labor market. This paper draws on extant literature on computer-mediated communication and a qualitative content analysis of 363 forum discussions to explore the phenomenon of increased use of online forums by prospective immigrants to Canada to access relevant labor market information. We draw on existing concepts of technology affordances and knowledge exchanges in online discussion forums and contextualize them to the dynamics of immigrants’ labor market integration. We found that online forums have the potential to facilitate immigrants’ labor market integration by enabling the continuous access to and exchange of needed information across time and space. For potential immigrants, online discussion forums afforded them the ability to seek employment advice, share migration experiences, establish connections with similar others, communicate with individuals in the receiving country, and exchange information about the host country labor market. The relevant information gained in online forums can help potential immigrants calibrate their expectations about the host country, make migration decisions, and plan for migration. More adjusted expectations and better preparation pre-migration can in turn facilitate better adjustment and employment integration post-migration. Overall, this paper highlights the importance of online discussion forums in facilitating information sharing and co-creation of new information resources between prospective immigrants and immigrants in the host country. We uncovered several unique discussion forum affordances enacted by potential immigrants. The findings inform policy makers of the role of online discussion forum technology in providing potential immigrants with low-cost pre-arrival information and training available across time and space that can assist with adjustment and labor market integration post migration.
Gulanowski, Daniel; Nardon, Luciara; and Hine, Michael J.
"Online Discussion Forum And Pre-migration Information Seeking: An Affordance Perspective,"
Journal of International Technology and Information Management: Vol. 31:
2, Article 5.
Available at: https://scholarworks.lib.csusb.edu/jitim/vol31/iss2/5
Communication Technology and New Media Commons, Digital Communications and Networking Commons, International and Intercultural Communication Commons, Interpersonal and Small Group Communication Commons, Migration Studies Commons, Science and Technology Studies Commons, Social Media Commons, Technology and Innovation Commons