Master of Philosophy in Organizational Dynamics Theses

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Submitted to the Program of Organizational Dynamics in the Graduate Division of the School of Arts and Sciences in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania

Advisor: Jean-Marc Choukroun


The concept of brain drain has been debated for decades and is a worldwide phenomenon. It has particularly adverse consequences on capacity development and economic growth of developing countries. There has been a lot of contentious debate amongst academicians, economists and politicians on what brain drain is, its causes and consequences and strategies to redress the problem.

In order to appreciate brain drain as a problem, brain drain will be defined as the physical movement of highly skilled and educated people, human capital, from one country to another in search of better opportunities, principally in the area of employment, with the consequent loss to their country of their knowledge, intellectual richness and diverse innovative skills required for that country’s economic development. The concepts in the definition are common among business people, economists and government policy makers and analysts. The key segments of the definition give an indication of the impact of the problem on a developing country that needs all the components necessary for development, especially human capital, hence the need to be addressed.

A review of the meaning of the concepts of brain drain and consequences of the phenomenon will be made. This study will also assess the applicability of return and retain focused policies and Diaspora initiatives and strategies suggested to address the brain drain problem. Some suggestions will be given regarding how the Diaspora could be utilized as key strategic assets that could respond to the development needs of Zimbabwe in its capacity building, development, reconstruction and long term growth, thus turning brain drain to brain gain.

The major form of obtaining information for this paper will be through literary works. A review will be made of scholarly publications on brain drain in general and also various documents on economic, political, social and public systems of Zimbabwe during the colonial and post-colonial periods will be examined and those relevant to this study on the country’s brain drain problem selected.



Date Posted: 26 September 2012