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CHALLENGE 4: ACCOMMODATING NEWCOMERS (THREAT: EXTERNAL SHOCK)

Sustainability Threat. We conceive of newcomer entry as an “external shock” to the community or organization.

State of the Art. When newcomers (e.g. refugees, international students, migrant workers) arrive, the standard approach is to try to include them by inviting them to participate in existing activities, and make contact with others. This approach, ‘integration’, in fact expects newcomers to assimilate into existing structures and initiatives, without considering the possibility that they have diverging needs or can offer complementary contributions. It relies on the assumption that there is implicit agreement on joint needs and who should contribute what. This form of contact and ‘integration’ can only intensify mutual distrust and misunderstanding if it is not supported by the explicit development of shared goals and common values.

Main Proposition. Those who newly arrive run the risk of being seen as ‘free riders’, who expect to benefit from collective resources without first contributing. Newcomers in turn may not realize what type of contribution is expected from them (e.g. migrant parents’ involvement in school or sports activities), or may not perceive existing resources as meeting their needs (e.g., when their favored activity is not available). We hypothesize that it is easier to accommodate newcomers and benefit from their input to secure collective provisions when their unique needs and inputs are explicitly acknowledged and incorporated. We examine this in four projects.

Main Outcome. This research identifies factors that enhance participation of parents, workers and community members in joint activities – also after newcomer entry. This type of cooperation must be sustained to realize collective provisions that cater for joint needs, such as sports clubs, extracurricular school activities, or professional development and mentoring opportunities.

Projects

4.1 Caring communities: Integrating newcomers into the labour market

4.2 Sustainability of Public Goods in a Changing Society

4.3. Volunteering for refugees in the Netherlands: Building a common identity

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