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Social pathology of brain drain in Yazd Province, Iran: A grounded theory approach

  • Negin Fallah HaghighiEmail author
  • Masoud Bijani
  • Morteza Parhizkar


Brain drain has direct and indirect impacts on the progress and development of societies. Thus, the efforts to preserve and employ the skilled workers are one of the priorities in today’s societies. In order to avoid the brain drain phenomenon, the causes and consequences should be detected prior to taking any actions. This study aimed to analyze the causes and consequences of the brain drain and its effects on the development of human resources in Yazd Province, Iran using the qualitative paradigms and grounded theory principles. Research data were collected with semi-structured in-depth interviews. The interviewees consisted of experts, skilled workers, and provincial managers of human resources in Yazd Province who were most knowledgeable about the phenomenon under study (n = 45). They were selected by purposive sampling. Data were analyzed by continuous data analysis and Strauss and Corbin’s method. According to the findings, the following were considered as the secondary categories of their emigration: “Obstacles against providing the skilled workers with a proper workspace”, “poor regulations and parameters of skilled worker selection”, “poor facilities for the skilled workers”, “poor administration systems”, and “improper attitude towards the skilled workers”. The key causes derived by the principles of grounded theory were “inappropriate business climate” and “inability to preserve skilled worker”. Using these categories, a paradigm model is presented that consists of causal, contextual and intervening factors, strategies and consequence.


Skilled workers Immigration Brain drain Grounded theory (GT) Iran 



The authors would like to express their gratitude to Management and Planning Organization of Yazd Province for funding the current research and to hardworking respondents for their valuable information. The authors also thank the interviewers; without whose efforts and assistance this study would not have been possible.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

Data sharing not applicable to this article as no datasets were generated or analyzed during the current study. All three of the aforementioned authors are involved in all stages of the study, including theoretical studies, data collection, analysis and data processing, and the presentation of the report. The ordering of their names based on their contribution to the process.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Technology Development Studies (DTDS), Research Institute for New Technology Development Studies (RINTDS)Iranian Research Organization for Science and Technology (IROST)TehranIran
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural Extension and Education, College of AgricultureTarbiat Modares University (TMU)TehranIran
  3. 3.Academic Center of Culture Education and Research (ACCER)TehranIran

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