Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Executive Doctorate in Business (EDB)



First Advisor

Todd Maurer

Second Advisor

Karen Loch

Third Advisor

Satish Nargundkar


In 2017, according to data from United States (U.S.) Department of Homeland Security, Chinese immigrants ranked as the third largest foreign-born group in the country. On average, Chinese immigrants are significantly better educated than the overall foreign- and native-born populations. Furthermore, they have had positive effects on social and economic outcomes; however, not much research has focused on the factors related to highly skilled temporary Chinese migrants’ decision-making about becoming permanent residents. In the present study, using the theory of planned behavior (TPB), I focused on the following research question: “Why and how do highly skilled temporary Chinese migrants become permanent residents in the United States?” This study offered several possible contributions. First, it was the first to apply the TPB to understand such migrants’ decision-making on emigrating from a developing country (China) to a developed one (the U.S.). Furthermore, the present study adds to research on the TPB and contributes to the literature by focusing on Chinese migrants. Second, under rapidly evolving international relations and immigration landscapes, empirically assessing perceptions and beliefs of highly-educated Chinese immigrants related to immigration is critical, including central concepts within the TPB such as their beliefs about whether they have control over migration decisions, what their families and friends in the U.S. and China think about whether they should migrate, and their beliefs about the outcomes of a decision to apply for permanent status. Therefore, I applied and elaborated the TPB through exploring the dimensions of individual attitudes and normative beliefs to determine which dimension and which social groups have the most influence on the intention to migrate. Third, this study contributed to understanding the factors associated with transitioning from temporary to permanent migration among highly skilled Chinese migrants. Fourth, new measures and tools were developed to be applied within this context. The study outcomes and developed measurement tools assist prospective immigrants in becoming better informed of the various potential influences on their decision-making. This will help them consider and make such decisions themselves. Furthermore, the outcomes and tools will enhance the understanding of researchers, policy-makers, and educators regarding highly skilled Chinese immigrants. Finally, it can provide a basis for applying these new measures and tools to cross-cultural immigrants.


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