Brain drain

Overview of the Article

This article is based on one of the emerging phenomenon of brain drain. It is aimed at identifying the factors at individual level that create inclination in foreign students to stay in host country. With the help of this identification of factors author has developed a model that is showing relationship between brain drain and these factors.

Defining brain drain is phenomenon in which people of high skill, education, and competencies leave their countries and emigrate. One major case of the brain drain happens when students from developing countries studying in the developed countries and decide not to go back home after their studies. Term of talent flow is also used as more representative of this phenomenon. The factors contributing to the BD taken in this study are under two broad categories pull and push. This model has clear relevance with cross border movement. Number of factors at individual, organizational and national level can explain the nature and direction of these factors.

This study has used push and pull model along the reasoned action theory. This theory predicts the actual action of the students to stay or to return their home country will be positively related to their inclination to de so which in turn will be affected by their attitudes. The independent variables used in the study are 1) adjustment process to the university 2) satisfaction from the university 3) social support 4) family ties 5) career perception 6) demography 7) labor market perception 8) home national culture. These factors are basically contributing brain drain to happen.

Following is the model used in the study which is showing the relationship of these variables with dependent variable.

  • Satisfaction from university
  • Social support
  • Family ties
  • career perception
  • Demography

Authors have developed 6 hypotheses for the purpose of this study which are derived from the model. Sample size was of 949 students which were taken from Cardiff (474), University of East Anglia (207), Lancaster University (26), University of taxes (81), university of Missouri (161). Over all response rate was 72 %. Gender distribution was quit even 53 5 were male and 47% female. Country of origin varied 631 were from the far east and south Asia including 269 from China 211 form India 67 form Taiwan, 111 from western countries and 91 were from middle east countries.

Results of the study have shown that 5 of the hypothesis were fully supported but the 6a and 6b was partially supported. The data also indicating that the Indian students were the least inclined to return home, where as students from China, Taiwan, and Thailand and from countries in Africa, and Latin America showed greatest inclination to return to their home countries. These students perceive the cultural distance between the NK and US and their own contributes to be too large.

The study found support for the proposed hypothesis the adjustment process for foreign students in the UK and US universities was found as the most significant predictor of the intention of foreign students to stay in host country. Summarizing the most influential factors contributing are labor market perception in home country, adjustment process, family ties of the students in both host and home countries. These factors cannot be easily tackled by the home county thus leaving decision makers in countries around the globe vulnerable to the brain drain phenomenon.

Relevance with Subject

Though this article is not written on totally new phenomenon, different researchers have worked on it over a period of time. It is suppose to be lasting phenomenon which has its impact on the scientific and innovative capacity of a country. Basically this subject matter has its origin from the field of management and human resource management.

The factors identified in this study will provide base to the policy maker of organizations that how to develop strategies and systems that helps them to brain gain. The current study has significant relevance with our subject of management as for managing businesses, systems etc one needs new brain new talent new ideas. One stream from where organizations and countries get this new brain is young blood who is about finish their graduate degree program and ready to step in the professional life. When this young blood analysis the situation and does not fell itself safe and satisfied in current home country due to different situational, political and economical factors, thus decide to get abroad for higher studies specifically in developed countries like UK and USA. But after even the completion of their studies they don't feel like coming back to home country, hence depriving the home country form their developed skills and competencies.

Same situation is being observed at less broad level which is business organization in general and educational institutions in specific. As result of globalization and increased competition all over the world, when these institutions adopt the proactive approach and send its human resource abroad but fear about their return. So this study can be used as starting point first to know about the factors that may lead to this fear on the part of organizations then customizing it according to the specifications of their country and second how to develop controlling strategies. Failing to attract these emigrants to their home country may not have short term affect but it will adversely affect the home country in long run. In the dynamic age of information technology, war of to be super power, and the war of survival of fittest, the developing and under developed countries are already getting exploited by developed countries, therefore if this phenomenon will be over looked it will adversely affect them at every level.

Critical Review:

This is a descriptive study in order to describe the factors that cause brain drain to occur. After the study, apparently this study seems a valuable addition in this phenomenon. But keeping in view the limited time, resources and the bounder rationality on the part of researcher there are few drawbacks in current study along its valuable contribution.

Authors have developed a substantially comprehensive and elaborated model that is causing brain drain. They have used individual level of analysis which can be taken as starting point to convert brain drain to brain gain. The sample size is reasonably good if seen independently which is 949 from different universities of different countries. Sample was divided into male and female respondents which is a good characteristic of a sample. By almost equally dividing sample in male and female respondents authors have made good effort to make sample representative.

Another good point is the adoption of both established and widely used measure and also developed few new dimensions for this study. For analysis authors have used regression analysis for testing hypothesis which sounds good measure for this purpose. Along regression analysis, the descriptive measures, correlations, and Cronbach alpha were also used for analysis of data set.


One of the drawbacks is in sample selection that only management students are taken for the study in hand but ignored other important field like engineering, science and technology, medicine etc. second is less sample size in relation to its population size due to which one cannot generalize its results.

Though the used model and the theoretical framework is comprehensive and elaborated but this study has taken into account only factor at individual level means the observation of the phenomenon is done by the individual perception. But holistic approach is missing in the adopted model which is at organizational and national level factor creating brain drain to happen.

This study has focused on the students who were from good, and rich families (understood from the expense they are paying for tuition fee, accommodation etc) and reside in urban areas. If spread the sample to rural and urban both areas this study would has generated relatively more good insight in the subject matter.

As the hypothesis 6a and 6b of the study are not substantially supported by the statistical models. This can be taken as an indication that authors may have not developed the study model on ground and logical basis. It is exposing weaknesses in the theoretical framework used for variables and hypothesis development.

Present study is examining one direction of brain drain which is from less affluent countries to leading economies and ignoring other dimension which is about the brain gain.

From global careers to talent Flow: reinterpreting brain drain

The author has rejected the term brain drain. They have preferred the term talent flow. Till recently the study of global career has focused on the assignment of expatriate by multinational Thomas 2002. In this article focus is on the individual choice of the career particularly the economic political, culture family and career forces motivating emigration. Author say due to emigrants a lot of brain waste takes place when their skills are underutilized. Author also suggests that brain gain also takes place simultaneously with brain drain. Conflict may also be expected when groups perceive themselves to compete for limited resources (Taylor & Moghattam, 1994).

The adoption of culture of host country creates problems in terms of cross cultural conflict and hinder in their adjustment process when emigrants come back. The talent flow between countries occurs regularly. An increasingly used migratory word all bodies must pay attention to the complex human dynamics of migration.

This article is also showing the fact the availability of career opportunities in the home country has greater impact on the inclination of emigrants to get back home. This is cause of Career frustration for emigrant. Ion this article author said that India face net lose of 2 billion on technical education to their students but they are not inclined to stay in the home country. Same is the case in the African sector.

The brain drain problem

In this article author has discussed that like the other underdeveloped and developing countries Germans people are also migrate from their home country to developed countries. It is a very critical situation for Germanys It is often thought that brain drain is typical for developing countries or countries in transition. Most people who leave are well educated and they will sorely miss in the future.

Docquier and Marfouk defined brain as proportion of working age individuals aged 25 and over with at least tertiary education born in a given country but living elsewhere. Some author have defined brain drain via the loss to the source country, others define broader reasons. In most cases people seem to migrate because

  • Their physical existence is in danger
  • The institutional structure of society cannot fulfill their material economic wishes and expectations.
  • The ideas for their life cannot be realized under the current political ideological system. We have permanent migration, non permanent migration and circulation.

According to author the official data from 2005 the latest available indicate that altogether 628399 persons left the country of whom, 144815 were Germans. The reasons for brain drain are to leave the country is to work in a well known institution or to have better environment for their research. Another reason of brain drain in Germany is that its systems for the new entrants are in flexible and complicated and they exploited the junior researchers.

This research is not providing enough bases for the future research as it is unclear about the return of emigrants. Many of emigrants intended to return but as long as the working conditions are not changing that is the major cause of their stay at host country. The author also has discussed the demographic factors effect on the emigrant's behavior.

Brain drain in declining organization: Toward a research Agenda

In this article the brain drain is more detrimental of implications of organizational decline and crises. The current paper introduces a conceptual framework of brain drain during decline. A model featuring both brain drain antecedents (predictors) and consequences are presented including an analysis of levers behavioral characristics. Predictors of Brain drain can be classified into three broad categories. The first is organizational level predictors, referring to the organizational forces that unintentionally push talented employees out of declining firms. The second is individual level predictors, referring to key personal attributes of the work forces that predict talent exit. The third is environmental level predictors alluding to external forces that pull talented employees away. The two last categories that consist of contextual variables that contribute to the organizational ones by way of interaction.

These categories of brain drain are further divided into dimensions which are as follows:

Individual level: skills in demand, higher education and young age

Organizational level: curtailment of internal career opportunities, unbalanced work load, undifferentiated retention incentives.

Environmental: labor market opportunities.

According to the proposed model employees endowed with market value personal attributes which are critically needed by their declining organizations, constitute threat of brain drain. Such employees are in often motivated to leave by declining triggered organizational forces pushing them out and environmental forces are pulling them away.

The suggested model may be not only applicable to brain drain in crises redden organizations but also to know decline brain drain cases. This concept is also applicable to the brain retain. Beyond the theoretical contribution of the proposed generic model the present study offers food for thought for organizational human resource strategies.

Does studying induce a Brain Drain

This paper investigates whether studying abroad increases the propensity to live abroad latter on. Authors have used four approaches based on cut off in the ranking of Dutch higher education graduates who applied for scholarship program for outstanding students. Applicants ranked above the cut off received a scholarship to study abroad. Applicants ranked below the cut off were denied the scholarship.

This paper is focuses on one possible effect that is studying abroad for some period may after words trigger the decision to stay abroad. If this effect is substantial a country that stimulates its youth to study abroad may infect export its high skilled workers.

The dependent variable which is living abroad is measured in early 2005 by some other researcher hence this study investigating the effect of studying abroad on living abroad in the first period of career.

Data of this study came from three sources. Firstly, it is obtained from the application forms, which applicants submitted in the scholarship officials. Variables taken from these forms include gender, age, field and level of study. Secondly, it is received from annual ranking of the students by the committees that assign the scholarship. Thirdly, information was collected through survey among all participants for the scholarship in the years 1997-2000. The final sample used in the analysis consists of 325 observations. Of the original response of 337 one observation is lost because scholarship status is unknown. One of the finding is indicating the relationship between the months passed in the host country will increase the probability to stay in host country on the part of emigrants.

These all articles are identifying and explaining the different factors at different levels like individual, organizational and national level that cause brain drain to happen. Like one of the article is about the German case study that has explored customized factors that cause brain drain in Germany. These identified factors can also be generalized to define this phenomenon in different culture.


  • Altbach, P.G.,& Basset, R.M.(2004). The brain trade. Foreign Policy
  • Carr, S. C.,Inkson, K.,& Thorn, K. (2005). From global careers to talent flow: Reinterpreting the 'Brain Drain': Journal of world business.
  • Hassel Oosterbeek & Dinand Webbink, 2009. Does studying abroad induce a brain drain.
  • Kerstin Cuhls, 2007. The brain drain problem: Technological forecasting and social change
  • Mazzarol, T., & Soutar, G (2002). Push-Pull factors influencing the international student destination choice. The internal journal
  • Monro, A. (2004). A migration that nobody objects to. New statesman
  • Reingold, J., & Brady, D (1999). Brain Drain. Business week
  • Richardson, J., & Mallon, M (2005). Career interrupted? The case of self directed expatriate. Journal of world business
  • Yehuda Baruch., Pawan S. Budhwar, Naresh Khatri, 2007. Brain Drain: the inclination to stay abroad after study: Journal of world Business.
  • Zehava Rosenblatt & Zachary Sheaffer, 2001. Brain Drain in declining organizations toward a research agenda. Journal of organizational behavior.

Please be aware that the free essay that you were just reading was not written by us. This essay, and all of the others available to view on the website, were provided to us by students in exchange for services that we offer. This relationship helps our students to get an even better deal while also contributing to the biggest free essay resource in the UK!