“It's Self-Determination. Blackfullas Making Right Decisions for Blackfullas”: Why Indigenous-owned businesses create better Indigenous employment outcomes

Christian Eva, Jessica Harris, Kerry Bodle, Dennis Foley, Boyd Hunter, Nina Nichols

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Previous research demonstrates that businesses that are Indigenous-owned are far more likely to employ Indigenous people than non-Indigenous-owned businesses (Hunter, 2015, The Economic and Labour Relations Review, 26, 631). The majority of the literature on Indigenous employment uses a deficit discourse, describing factors that prevent or exclude Indigenous people from non-Indigenous-owned organisations. There is markedly less literature using a strength-based approach, detailing how Indigenous-owned businesses create workplaces without barriers to Indigenous employment. Through 32 semistructured interviews with Indigenous business owners, managers, and Indigenous employees of Indigenous-owned businesses, this paper provides insights into how participants' businesses create workplaces that are more supportive of, and conducive to, Indigenous employment. This paper finds that Indigenous approaches to governance inform an organisational level of cultural competence, which creates tailored and specific practices that support better Indigenous employment outcomes. This resonates with the concept of Indigenous ways of “knowing, being, and doing,” and how this framework encompasses participants' approaches to business operations. In the light of increasing public and private policy commitments to improve Indigenous employment outcomes, it is imperative that the Indigenous business sector's best practice inform said policies, given its successes. However, inherent in these findings are broader discussions into more systemic and societal issues that go beyond workplace policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalAustralian Journal of Social Issues
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2023
Externally publishedYes

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