טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentSchegolev Inna
SubjectScientists from the FSU in Israel: Personal Network
Development as a Means of Social Integration and
Professional Reintegration
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisors Professor Alan Kirschenbaum
Dr. Maria Yelenevskaya
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Abstract

This thesis addresses the question of how the development of social networks affects the integration of immigrant scientists from the former Soviet Union (FSU) into their new social and professional settings in Israel.

This project provides the basis for an in-depth exploration of several aspects of the process through which immigrant scientists from the FSU are integrated: the development of personal networks, work attitudes, language problems and other related issues. The distinction between this paper and similar research is its dual focus: a large homogeneous group of professionals working in a specific organizational context, namely academia.

Participants in the study were 107 immigrant scientists employed in Israeli academia.  In the course of research qualitative and quantitative data were collected. In the first stage of the research, 10 in-depth interviews were conducted and analyzed in order to define preliminary hypotheses. Subsequently, a questionnaire was developed and sent by e-mail to participants, whose responses were submitted anonymously. The interviews explored the immigrant scientists’ overall perceptions of their social and professional lives in Israel. The qualitative and quantitative data collected in the framework of this thesis had a strong correlation.  In other words, the conclusions drawn from the interviews were supported by an analysis of the statistical data.

This thesis targets scientists who had already accumulated some experience in the new professional settings in Israel. It sheds light on the mutual dependencies between social and professional networks of immigrant scientists and the scientists’ own assessment of their professional self-realization. The main findings indicate that immigrant scientists’ social and professional networks are characterized by a low degree of heterogeneity and are dominated by strong ties, and that both these factors significantly influence the process of socialization undergone by the immigrants. The most dominant feature of the the immigrant scientists’ work attitudes was its collectivism, which was positively related to the process of social and professional integration. The data indicated that good Hebrew and English proficiency is important for successful integration into both social and work settings, with proficiency in English significantly related to social status. These findings confirm that English proficiency is one of the central components of success in social and professional integration of immigrant scientists. On the whole, the research findings indicate that, despite the difficulties encountered during the process of acclimation, immigrant scientists are satisfied with their integration overall.