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The Dark Side of Indigenous Enterprise

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Date: 23 September 2016
Venue: EW303 Hawthorn Campus

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Indigenous Studies group seminar

What happens when Australian individual values and Indigenous cultural beliefs are juxtaposed within western business culture?

Within the Australian business context, the Aboriginal entrepreneur's financier is inevitably non-Indigenous, their suppliers are predominantly non-Indigenous; their sales are normally to the non-Indigenous and their business model almost always conservatively is non-Indigenous.

Yet, in other countries such as Aotearoa and Canada with larger concentrations of Indigenous people, business models can follow 'tikanga' values. Tikanga is an unwritten series of cultural ethics and protocols indicative to Māori when dealing with their creditors and debtors in business, similar in some ways to the Japanese relationship with their suppliers called keiretsu. 

The Indigenous business person is in business for reasons other than profit.

In this Indigenous Studies group seminar, Professor Dennis Foley will delve into his research of Indigenous Australian entrepreneurs. Foley has confirmed that in Māori business undertakings, tikanga was clearly evident. By contrast, Aboriginal business people in Australia do not have these established cultural values. Instead, the Australian individual's values and Indigenous cultural beliefs are juxtaposed within our dominant western business culture.

Foley's research also reveals that the Australian Aboriginal business person displays values that are often the by-product of their upbringing and influence by the impact of Mission life and/or stolen generation experiences, either by them or through their parents.

About the presenter

Dennis Foley is a Professor of Aboriginal Studies at the University of Newcastle where he researches and publishes in the fields of Aboriginal management, entrepreneurship and education. He is of Aboriginal descent (Gai-mariagal and Wiradjuri), a Fulbright Scholar and Endeavour Fellow researching with Indigenous colleagues in America, Aotearoa, the Pacifica, Canada and Ireland as well as urban, rural and remote Australia. 

Professor Foley has won several awards and research grants, and appointments to academic journals, industry and government advisory groups. He is also a foundation Director on the Board of the NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce.

Professor Foley will be a Visiting Fellow at Swinburne from 19 – 30 September 2016.

Register to attend

To attend this seminar, please RSVP to Simone Hamlin ( by Tuesday, 20 September 2016.