Meaningful careers in social enterprises in remote Australia: Employment decisions among Australian Indigenous art centre workers
The International Journal of Human Resource Management
School of Business and Law
This research investigates why Indigenous workers decide to enter, stay or leave their positions in art centres that serve as important social enterprises in remote Australia. We develop a framework that integrates identity theory and push–pull theory via institutional logics, thereby extending Wry and York (2017)’s typology configurations that is applicable to other actors in the entrepreneurial eco-system, including Indigenous art centre workers. Based on a qualitative study of 72 Indigenous art centre workers employed in remote Australia, the results indicate that although art centres have dual for-profit and social missions, it is mainly pull factors related to paid, local employment aligned to vocational interests, and pro-social motives that are important in explaining why Indigenous Australians choose to work there. Career motives also explain workers’ decision to stay, while diverse pull and push factors explain why workers quit. Importantly, the factors that explain employment decisions are multi-factorial, interrelated and closely tied to the social and cultural logics of community life. The research furthers our understanding of how identity factors contribute to decisions by Indigenous art centres workers to enter, leave or stay in their role, providing a more complete understanding of HRM within the context of social enterprises.