The creation of competitive advantage: a Māori learning organisation's marketing strategy
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This thesis examines the application of the disciplines of the learning organisation to inform a marketing strategy inspired by creativity and innovation that fosters lifelong learning in a Māori organisational setting, specifically Te Ara Poutama, the Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Development at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT). Senge’s 1990 book, The Fifth Discipline, provides the theoretical framework for this thesis. The application of the disciplines of the learning organisation to a marketing strategy, informed by Māori values can facilitate better outcomes for Māori students, our communities and ourselves. A kaupapa Māori philosophical framework underpins the research. The application of non-Māori theory to an organisation committed to sustaining indigenous cultural values, beliefs and practices may seem challenging, but can be done to realise competitive advantage. Furthermore, the research provides compelling support for Māori cultural beliefs and practices which complement the learning organisation theory because they add a unique dimension to the marketing mix. Specifically it is argued that in-depth knowledge of Māori culture, more specifically te reo Māori me ngā tikanga Māori, provides a competitive edge for our graduates in a crowded tertiary sector market. As the learning organisation disciplines become entrenched in the faculty, the receptiveness to change and the propensity to learn faster than our competitors reinforces this competitive advantage. The disciplines of the learning organisation have been successfully encouraged in a Māori cultural context and, as a result the faculty’s marketing strategy has been better informed.