Migrant CEOs: Barriers and Strategies on the Way to the Top

Celine Legrand, Akram Al Ariss, Nikolaos Bozionelos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


This study discusses the main barriers that qualified migrants face in their route towards becoming Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) along with the strategies they employ in their quest to reach the top. The study was conducted in France, a leading economic power with a long history of migration. A relational analytic framework was adopted, where in-depth interviews with migrant CEOs were triangulated with accounts from native CEOs, organizational leaders, and institutional actors. It emerged that meso- and macro-level factors created powerful barriers to advancement, while migrant CEOs tended to deploy four career strategies, two of them reactive – adaptation/adjustment and overcompensation – and the other two proactive – differentiation and manoeuvring. In addition, substantial differences were identified in the accounts of migrant CEOs and the other participants as to the existence of barriers and awareness of these by organizational actors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-615
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Management Review
Issue number3
Early online date27 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019
Externally publishedYes


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