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Featuring  C. Annique Un, Associate Professor of International Business & Strategy at Northeastern University, the talk will analyze how refugees can contribute to resettlement countries by becoming innovative employees.

The talk is part of the Center for Emerging Markets‘ Nardone Family Seminar Series.


We analyze how refugees can contribute to resettlement countries by becoming innovative employees. Refugees are individuals forced to migrate to another country in search of safety, in a hurry, and with few resources. As a result, they suffer from destitution and discrimination in the resettlement country, which we refer to as their “liability of refugeeness.” However, building on insights from case studies, we argue and explain how their liability of refugeeness may become an advantage of refugeeness that enables them to become innovative employees through a human capital upgrading process.

Specifically, we first propose that refugees upgrade their human capital via three psychological drivers: courage, perseverance, and resilience. We then suggest that these three drivers are facilitated by the interaction between the support and mentoring received in the early years of resettlement when the liability of refugeeness is most pronounced. This results in four types of refugees with varying success in their human capital upgrading: supported-and-mentored, mentored, supported, and not-supported-and-not-mentored. Finally, we argue that combining their upgraded human capital with the frugal mindset developed from their experiences as refugees helps them to become innovative employees, thus turning the liability of refugeeness into an advantage of refugeeness.

About the Speaker

C. Annique Un

C. Annique Un (PhD, MIT Sloan School, MBA, BBA, University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business) is a tenured Associate Professor of International Business and Strategy at the D'Amore-McKim School of Business, Northeastern University. Previously, she served on the faculty at Cornell University and the University of South Carolina. She analyzes how firms and individuals learn and innovate in the domestic and international settings, introducing ideas, such as the advantage and liability of foreignness and localness in these areas. She also analyzes how R&D collaboration and investment impact learning and innovation of individuals and firms. Her research has appeared in leading academic journals, such as Journal of International Business StudiesJournal of Product Innovation ManagementResearch Policy, and Strategic Management Journal. It has also received awards from INFORMS, the European Academy of International Business, and the Academy of International Business. She serves on numerous editorial review boards and as a Representative-at-Large for the Global Strategy Interest Group of the Strategic Management Society and in many other roles in the Academy of International Business and the Academy of Management. She teaches or has taught required PhD, MBA, and undergraduate-level courses on international business and global social responsibility.

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