Building job quality from the inside-out: Mexican immigrants, skills, and jobs in the construction industry

Natasha Iskander, Nichola Lowe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Using an ethnographic case study of Mexican immigrant construction workers in two U.S. cities and in Mexico, the authors illustrate the contribution of immigrant skill as a resource for changing workplace practices. As a complement to explanations that situate the protection of job quality and the defense of skill to external institutions, the authors show that immigrants use collective learning practices to improve job quality from inside the work environment that is to say from the inside-out. The authors also find that immigrants use collective skill-building practices to negotiate for improvements to their jobs; however, their ability to do so depends on the institutions that organize production locally. Particular attention is given to the quality of those industry institutions, noting that where they are more malleable, immigrant workers gain more latitude to alter their working conditions and their prospects for advancement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)785-807
Number of pages23
JournalIndustrial and Labor Relations Review
Volume66
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013

Fingerprint

Construction industry
Immigrants
Job quality
Industry

Keywords

  • Immigrant
  • Internal labor market
  • Job quality
  • Skills
  • Workplace practices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Strategy and Management

Cite this

Building job quality from the inside-out : Mexican immigrants, skills, and jobs in the construction industry. / Iskander, Natasha; Lowe, Nichola.

In: Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 66, No. 4, 2013, p. 785-807.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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