Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

D. Eric Archer, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Ramona Lewis, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Kirsi LaPointe, Ph.D.


Happiness, Nordic countries, subjective wellbeing


As globalization evolves and the number of migrants and cross-cultural interactions among world citizens increases, understanding various aspects of immigrants’ experiences, including their happiness and subjective well-being will become fundamental to organizations, governments, and societies. However, there are substantial cross-cultural differences in how people understand their happiness, make sense of experiences that influence happiness, and how large-scale social trends, such as globalization, relate to the individual migration perspectives (Uchida and Ogihara, 2012). Research affirms culture as a key factor influencing happiness (Ye et al., 2015) and living in a foreign country may not only impact one’s perspective on life, but also individual perceptions and definitions of happiness.

As the Nordic countries consistently rank in the top positions of the happiest countries in the world (as indicated in the OECD’s World Happiness Report), this basic interpretive qualitative study examines how first-generation migrants from the Dominican Republic residing in Nordic countries make sense of their happiness in the host culture. This study utilized visual research methods (i.e., participant-produced drawings) to enrich participants’ narrative by drawing on emotions and long-term memories surfaced from the drawing exercise. The findings from this study focus on how participants’ conceptualization of their happiness is influenced by social factors from their home country and how cross-cultural interactions in their host country influence their ongoing transition experiences. The findings of this study have implications for organizations and policymakers seeking greater integration of their immigrant communities as well as influencers of subjective well-being and happiness in their own countries.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access