20 Meters Apart: How Migrant and Local Workers Negotiate and Integrate Distinct Work Ethics in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area

Research output: Other Conference ContributionsPresentation


Last decades have witnessed continuous regional integration of emerging economies, among which, China seeks to generate profound influence of connecting Global South countries in multiple dimensions. In this blueprint, the development of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA) is accorded the status of key strategic planning. This cooperative region comprises nine cities of Mainland China, Hong Kong SAR and Macau SAR, and is now facing the interconnection of two social systems and two legal systems. Recent studies suggest a top-down approach on enforcement of factor mobility in GBA, e.g. the labor mobility, as a priority of developmental plan. Indeed, policies regarding connectivity and facilitation for labor flow across the region have been implemented. Previous evidence shows noticeable differences regarding codes of conduct and ethical attitudes of workers between Mainland China and Hong Kong/Macau, due to vast and long-standing divergences in economic, social and legal institutions. However, further insights into the adjustment and interaction of actors in this new translocal and transcultural setting are lacking, challenging the “in-depth integration” of GBA plan. In this regard, empirical evidence of bottom-up processes and mechanisms is needed. This study takes a probing step to ascertain the above issues from experiences of migrant and local workers. More specifically, I interviewed mainlander and Hong Konger Chinese working in an intra-ethnic working environment of Shenzhen and Hong Kong, which are geographically 20-meter away from each other. These migrants’ stories are punctuated with difficulties of accommodating different labor practices, and, more importantly, the dynamics of adjusting and negotiating two distinct work ethics. The findings offer a detailed and experience-based observation to stakeholders of labor-flow. Finally, I discuss the literature on cooperative strategies for working environment integration of culturally/institutionally diverse economic zones.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2021
EventIV ISA Forum of Sociology: Challenges of the 21 Century : Democracy, Environment, Inequalities, Intersectionality - Virtual, Porto Alegre, Brazil
Duration: 23 Feb 202128 Feb 2021


ConferenceIV ISA Forum of Sociology
CityPorto Alegre
Internet address


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