Brain Drain: Cross-Cultural Management


In developing a great team, the management should understand cross cultural differences that exist among its employees. With increased globalization, movement of people and labour there has been an increase in diversity of cultures that exist in companies (i.e. from the employees and customers); this is referred to as cross cultural differences. Cross culture management is the managerial processes and functions that the management takes to cope with the effects of cross culture.

People move from one country to another for a reason; sometimes they move and stay in the host country; these people may be having some talented brains which they “transfer” from their country of origin to their host country. This is a move that has been labelled differently depending on the angle that a person sees it. Some people call it brain drain; these are people reasoning from the country of origin perspective. Others refer to it as brain gain, this is reasoning from the country which has gotten the additional brain, and yet others call it talent flow; these are obviously people who support globalisation.

What is the article about and why did the authors think it is important

The article is written by Yehunda Baruch, Pawan Budhawar and Naresh Khatri; the journal is about brain drain that is occurring daily in the world. The authors term the mobility of talents as brain drain to a country and are of the opinion that the move is increasingly affecting developing countries. The authors feel that despite the fact that globalisation has benefits to a society; there are some societies that it has affected negatively. Some places have developed so fast as a result of draining the economies of others. The article has reviewed works in the same area by other authors and gives its recommendations in areas like factors affecting brain drain and what can be done to avoid these increasingly alarming trends. In the discussion stage, the authors try to review the scenario and gives recommendations on how all countries should benefit from available world talents.

What do the authors say about the two broad categories of factors affecting brain drain

The authors broadly divided factors that influence brain drain into two categories; pull factors and push factors. Push factors are those that make a talented person move from his country of origin to the country of destination. There are factors like lack of adequate technology that he can use to make his talent beneficial to him and the society in general; other factors include economical, financial, and developmental factors. Pull factors on the other hand are factors that are attracting the talented person to move to foreign countries and not come back to his native country. Such factors include employment vacancies, business opportunities, recognition, technological development, and talent development programs in such countries.

One of the reasons why people move to a foreign country is education as most are of the opinion that developed countries have better educational facilities than their own countries.

What do the authors predict their research will show in terms of

  • Adjustment
    The decision whether a person will stay in the host country or will go back to his native country is greatly influenced by the level of adjustment that they have received or are able to make in their host country. If given good reception and adapts well in these countries then they are likely to remain. The support that facilitates adjustment is received from fellow colleagues i.e. teachers, students, and the general environment.
  • Support from the university
    A good number of migrants move to foreign countries as students or lecturers. How well they adjust to the new environment influences their decision of staying or going back to their motherlands. In Universities and colleges they face colleagues, employers and other facilities that can influence their decision of getting back home.
  • Family ties
    The country of origin that one has been brought up in may influence whether he will stay in a foreign country or not. If in his home country he was able to develop good family ties, he is likely to get back to this country. If for example the person had no good ties, he is likely to stay in the host country as he gets refuge from home. Consequently, it has happened that sometimes there are families living in the host country and when an immigrant gets to these families he develops ties with them. He is able to create another home abroad and thus is likely to decide not to go back to his native country.
  • Labour markets
    Differences in the labour market can lead to a stay or coming back. If he gets to a country where there are good labour markets and there is high demand for his services, than the case it is in his native country, then he is likely to stay in the country. This is the opposite where there are more opportunists in his native country than in the host country. He is likely to get back home.
  • Career prospective?
    People have different career prospects and expectations in life. If in host country a person finds that he has a better chance of fulfilling his dreams (career-wise), there are high chances that he will opt to stay in such countries instead of moving back to his native country.

How did the authors test their predictions?

Data analysis tools that helped analyze the data

Analysis is used to refer to ordering and structuring of data to produce knowledge. After data has been gathered one needs to squeeze meaning from the data. This is only possible once the data has been analyzed. The definition used for analysis embraces a whole range of activities for both qualitative and quantitative types. The former brings out social economic dimension of the research and to achieve this, aspect like percentages and frequencies are used. Statistical analysis is the same as inferential statistics. It has to bring out the level and strength of any observed relationship between various variables in any inquiry, for example, training and performance.

One of the methods of data analysis is hypothesis testing. Here the relationship between variable and group was examined. In hypothesis testing I used the various mathematical methods which include but not limited to the following:

  1. Z-test- this is based on normal probability distribution and its used for judging the significance of several statistical measure, particularly the mean of a sample. The same test is used for judging the difference between mean of two different samples.
  2. T-test- this is based on t distribution and considered appropriate for judging significance of the difference between mean of two samples. The relevant test statistic ‘’t” is calculated from sample data then compared with its probable value based on t distribution read from “t” statistical tables.
  3. The chi-square- this is based on chi-square distribution and is used for comparing sample variances to a theoretical population variance
  4. F-test- this is based on f- distribution and is used to compare the values of two independent samples. This test is also used in context of analysing the variances called “ANOVAs”. ANOVAs are used for judging significance of more than two sample means one at a time. After it has been calculated it is compared with probable values in the f-ratio tables.


Globalisation has come to bring better interaction among countries. There is transfer of factors of production with human resources being one of them. However, the result is brain drain in some countries and brain gain in some others. Nations which have limited resources to tap and grow the talent they have are increasingly facing brain drain by countries which are developed and have a wide range of chances than they have. The decision of one staying in a host country instead of going back to his country of birth is influenced by personal and external factors. Internal factors include the relationship that a person is able to attain in the country that he has settled in to career progression objectives. The availability of better life in host countries is seen to dominate the decision of whether one will go back to their native country or they will stay in the host country. The net result is that there is a brain drain in developing countries and a brain gain in developed countries. This has resulted in an increased poverty in developing countries and accumulated wealth in developed countries (Yehunda, Pawan & Naresh, 2007).

Practical implications for managers? How can they use this information?

Managers should understand the trend in brain drain so they can plan their human resources effectively. Human resources planning is an attempt to forecast how many and what kind of employees are required or will be required and to what extent this demand is likely to be met. It involves the comparison of organizations current human resources, the likely future needs, and consequently, the establishment of programs for hiring, training, redeploying and possibly discarding employees. The main aim of human resources planning is to ensure that there is the right number of employees, at the right time, at the right place, and at the right cost. Human resource planning is a continuous process as long an organization is operating. When the trend has been analysed a manager can know the decision to make and when to make them.


With increased globalisation and movement of people and labour, there has been an increase in the diversity of cultures that exist in companies from the employees and customers. There has been a trend where people are migrating to other countries never to come back to their native countries. This results in brain drain. They are attracted by economic, social, political and self interests when they are making the decision of whether they will return to their native countries or not. Knowledge of the flow of labour will assist managers in planning their human resources effectively.


Yehunda B., Pawan B., and Naresh, K. 2007. Brain Drain: Inclination to stay abroad after studies. Journal of World Business. 42(2007).92-112

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