Māori entrepreneurship: a Māori perspective
Entrepreneurship is gaining international recognition as a pathway for the economic and social development of countries. Within New Zealand the entrepreneurial ability of the indigenous population, Māori, is receiving an increased amount of attention in the scholarly literature. In particular, research from 2005 has indicated that Māori are the third most entrepreneurial population in the world, however, the success of Māori entrepreneurial endeavor was low (Frederick & Chittock, 2005). The focus of the present research is to identify the factors that influence Māori entrepreneurial success.
Essentially, the research on Māori entrepreneurship remains in the early stages of development. In particular, Henry (2011, September) noted a lack of conceptual and theoretical models “to better understand, predict and enhance Māori entrepreneurship” (p. 930). Previous models of Māori entrepreneurship are limited in number, applicability, and empirical support. The question arises as to what constitutes Māori entrepreneurship, in theory and practice. The aim of this thesis is to empirically explore the construct of Māori entrepreneurship, from the perspective of Māori, in order to enable the theoretical and practical development of the field of Māori entrepreneurship.
A qualitative, exploratory research approach is implemented using the methods of in-depth interviews and observation. This approach is suited when an in-depth and detailed understanding of a phenomenon is desired (Morse & Richards, 2002); and when the research topic is in a preliminary stage (Babbie, 1989). Purposeful and convenience sampling identifies eight Māori participants who work within the field of Māori entrepreneurship. The interview transcripts, observations, and field notes are analysed using thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006), which is commonly used in qualitative research and involves the identification of recurring themes within the data.
In essence, an understanding into the entrepreneurial traits and characteristics, and the process of Māori entrepreneurship is explored. This thesis identifies the factors that impede and enhance Māori as they undertake entrepreneurial activity.
Based on this research, three elements are identified as influential to Māori entrepreneurship: The cultural environment, the education system, and the institutional infrastructure available to Māori entrepreneurs. A definition and process of Māori entrepreneurship are additional findings uncovered through the empirical research. These findings are used to develop a framework for the field of Māori entrepreneurship.
The findings indicate Māori entrepreneurs operate in a complex and multifaceted environment, where multiple factors impede and enhance Māori entrepreneurial success. An understanding of these factors can assist theory, research, and practice to develop strategies and policies that could increase the success of Māori entrepreneurial endeavour. Further research is needed to extend the findings and to explore areas that are highlighted as important but not covered within the scope of this thesis.