Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Psychology

Advisor

Mary O'Brien

Abstract

Highly qualified individuals are leaving the Caribbean and relocating to the United States and other developed countries. Researchers describe this resulting flight of human capital, or brain drain, from the Caribbean as a problem which has no clear definition or immediate solution. This phenomenological study explored perceptions of government senior executives in the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) of the cause and impact of brain drain. Burns' and Bass's transformational and transactional leadership theories were used as the framework for this study. Data were collected through a demographic questionnaire and semistructured interviews with a snowball sample of 10 participants. Data were analyzed using the phenomenological method of thematic coding. Data indicated that leaders perceived a lack of opportunities for educated individuals in the USVI. Government senior executives acknowledged an imbalance in the workforce as the majority of workers are older individuals. Government senior executives recommended an increased budget allotment to educate, retain, and attract younger Virgin Islanders to decrease and prevent brain drain. These results indicate that policymakers and organizational leaders can create positive social change by creating job opportunities and improving the island's physical and social infrastructures, thus, ensuring future organizational success.