Understanding the central tension of Indigenous entrepreneurship: Purpose, profit and leadership

Michelle Marie Evans, Ian O. Williamson

    Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    At the heart of Australian Indigenous enterprise sits a central tension - the pursuit of profit (individual) versus the pursuit of independent Indigenous economic development (collective purpose). Whilst the individual/collective duality is not unique to Indigenous entrepreneurs (Farjoun, 2010), it provides for discursive dispute as to the purpose and motivation of individual Indigenous entrepreneurs. This paper seeks to make a contribution by critically discussing how Australian Indigenous entrepreneurs enact leadership as they work to make sense of the central tension of Indigenous entrepreneurship in their own business. Starting with a review of the literature pertaining to Indigenous entrepreneurship, we will unpack the duality at the heart of Indigenous entrepreneurship and the ramifications this has at the individual firm level for Australian Indigenous entrepreneurs. Bringing forward an analysis of Indigenous entrepreneurial motivations – both at the personal and sector levels - we present empirical findings to extend the theoretical literature reviewed. Finally, we discuss how the motivating factors shape Australian Indigenous entrepreneurial leaders as they traverse these difficult and consequential terrains of Indigenous economic development.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationAcademy of Management Proceedings
    EditorsSonia Taneja
    Place of PublicationUnited States
    PublisherAcademy of Management
    Number of pages7
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2017
    Event77th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management: AOM 2017 - Atlanta Marriott Marquis, Hilton Atlanta, Hyatt Regency Atlanta, Atlanta, United States
    Duration: 04 Aug 201708 Aug 2017
    https://web.archive.org/web/20170813174815/http://aom.org/AnnualMeetingLanding.aspx?id=1912 (Conference website)
    https://my.aom.org/ProgramDocs/2017/pdf/AOM_2017_Annual_Meeting_Program.pdf (Conference program)

    Publication series

    NameAcademy of Management Proceedings
    PublisherAcademy of Management
    ISSN (Print)0065-0668
    ISSN (Electronic)2151-6561


    Conference77th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
    Abbreviated titleAt The Interface
    Country/TerritoryUnited States
    OtherThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting is the premier conference for more than 10,000 students, academics, scholars, and professionals in the scholarly management and organization space. The 77th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management will be held August 4-8, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. The program theme is At the Interface.
    Internet address


    Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding the central tension of Indigenous entrepreneurship: Purpose, profit and leadership'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this