Understanding indigenous entrepreneurship: A case study analysis

Foley. Denis L. (2005). Understanding indigenous entrepreneurship: A case study analysis PhD Thesis, School of Business, The University of Queensland.

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Author Foley. Denis L.
Thesis Title Understanding indigenous entrepreneurship: A case study analysis
School, Centre or Institute School of Business
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2005-04-19
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Open Access Status Other
Supervisor Kennedy, Jessica
Drennan, Judy
Boyle, Maree
Total pages 326
Total black and white pages 326
Collection year 2005
Language eng
Subjects 350000 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services
350299 Business and Management not elsewhere classified
750309 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander development and welfare
Abstract/Summary This PhD research project views and examines the socio-economic environment of the urban Indigenous Australian entrepreneur. The proposed research project explores Indigenous entrepreneurs. As they experience enlightenment, empowerment and emancipation through success in business, do they identify less with Indigenous culture and more with the Anglo-European values of the dominant Australian or American culture? Do successful Indigenous entrepreneurs, in effect, need to take on or adopt values of the dominant Anglo-European culture to remain successful in business? Are there impediments/inhibitors existing that restrict business growth and subsequent success to the Indigenous entrepreneur? From case study analysis and literature review, is the Indigenous entrepreneur different in comparison with the non-indigenous entrepreneur? Does entrepreneurship free the Indigenous business person from the welfare system? These are the questions that this research attempts to answer. The project involved a case study analysis of twenty five contemporary urban Indigenous Australian entrepreneurs geographically spread from Hobart, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns and a few major regional centres. The Hawaiian study was similar with twenty five case studies from the major urban centres on the islands of Oahu, Molokai, Kauai, Hawaii and Maui. The Hawaiian study also included a control study of sixteen non-Hawaiian minority entrepreneurs to ensure that the Hawaiian findings were objective. Indigenous Standpoint theory was applied together with a Grounded theory approach to ensure that the research was based in an Indigenous epistemological approach to knowledge. Constant comparative coding was used to ensure the qualitative data was analysed using a semi structured format. The outcomes of the study provide a rich insight into the world of minority entrepreneurs who operate within post-colonial cultures of western dominance and negative stereotypes that have created welfare dependant societies. In summary the outcomes identify that the intrinsic motivator for Indigenous entrepreneurs is to provide for their family, to give their children a better life than what they experienced, and to escape the entrapments of poverty. Racism and discrimination combined with lack of capital and access to micro-credit were seen as the major inhibitors to business success. The Indigenous entrepreneurs are struggling to cast off the shackles of welfare, to no longer be at the mercy of successive government programmes. The study results indicate that success in small enterprise undertakings by Indigenous entrepreneurs is a move up from self management, success in entrepreneurial activity is self-determination for those entrepreneurs. The end result is one of micro-economic reform within the Indigenous families who benefit from the success in small business enterprise and entrepreneurial activity. Indigenous values in Hawaii were maintained with a strong connection to land and language, whether it be spoken or not by the entrepreneur. It was the values attached to language that included a strong work ethic, maturity and respect that were seen to be dominant issues. Within Indigenous Australia the result of genocide inflicted on successive Indigenous generations has not destroyed Indigenous Australian culture altogether. Strong views remain concerning protocol and ethics, what has evolved are contemporary Indigenous values that allow the Indigenous Australian to maintain cultural standards revolving around kinship in contemporary Australia.
Keyword indigenous entrepreneurship
case study research
minority groups

Document type: Thesis
Collection: UQ Theses (RHD) - Open Access
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Created: Thu, 20 Aug 2009, 09:36:55 EST by Dennis Foley on behalf of Management, School of