Meaningful careers: Employment decisions among Indigenous art centre workers in remote Australia

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Title

Academy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings


Academy of Management

Place of Publication



School of Business and Law




Seet, P. S., Jones, J., & Acker, T. (2017). Meaningful careers: Employment decisions among Indigenous art centre workers in remote Australia. In Academy of Management Proceedings, 2016(1). Academy of Management. Available here.


This study investigates the reasons behind why Indigenous workers decide to work or leave their positions in Indigenous art centres in remote areas of Australia. This has significance for management, in helping motivate Indigenous workers in terms of economic participation in highly remote areas and thereby “closing the gap” in terms of socio-economic disadvantage. It contributes to theory by integrating social exchange theory and indigenous standpoint theory by examining the factors behind labour force participation among Indigenous Australians in these art centres through an Indigenous epistemological approach. This was a qualitative study primarily using structured in-depth interviews of 24 Indigenous art centre workers working in art centres in remote Australia. The study adds to the few field studies that have investigated issues related to recruitment and retention of Indigenous workers in the creative arts sector in remote areas by exploring the views of Indigenous arts practitioners at the grass roots level which has had limited research to date. It contributes to the literature by extending and interpreting social exchange theory from a more culturally specific Indigenous interpretive perspective that also incorporates the context of their remote communities in understanding career deliberations, an aspect that has not traditionally been studied.



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