Perceptions of organizational support and psychological well-being: experiences of Ukrainian refugees in Dutch organizations

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Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, approximately 89,000 Ukrainians sought refuge in the Netherlands by November 2022. The European Union activated the Temporary Protection Directive (TPD) which provided immediate asylum and labor market access for Ukrainian refugees. This unique situation offers a valuable opportunity to study the integration of Ukrainian refugees into the Dutch labor market, free from the typical complexities of prolonged asylum processes. This qualitative thesis investigates the integration experiences of Ukrainian refugees, focusing on how organizational support influences their psychological well-being and workplace integration. Refugees often face mental health challenges due to pre- and post-migration stressors, which affects their workplace integration. Organizations who employ refugees can be crucial in supporting their psychological well-being and workplace integration. This study addresses the knowledge gap regarding the perceptions of current workplace support on refugees’ mental health, emphasizing the importance of creating supportive work environments. This thesis used qualitative research methods, including twelve in-depth interviews with Ukrainian refugees who work or have worked in Dutch organizations. The sampling techniques of convenience and snowball sampling were used to invite interviewees, ensuring a diverse range of backgrounds and professions. A thematic analysis was used to identify themes and patterns in the interviews, to provide an understanding of the complex interplay between perceived organizational support and psychological well-being. The findings of this study highlight positive and negative perceptions about central themes such as uncertainty about the future, development opportunities, and transparent communication. The research emphasizes the critical role of fair treatment, supportive HR practices, and leadership in enhancing refugees' mental health. It finds that organizational support, such as stable employment, transparent communication, and opportunities for social integration, significantly mitigates psychological distress and fosters a supportive work environment. The study contributes to the understanding of refugee integration by highlighting the need for tailored support systems within organizations to address refugees' unique challenges, ultimately promoting their well-being and workplace integration.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen