To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Family, community, and globalization: Wayuu indigenous entrepreneurs as n-Culturals

Alexei Tretiakov (School of Management, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand)
Christian Felzensztein (School of Management, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand)
Anne Marie Zwerg (Universidad de La Sabana, Chia, Colombia)
Jason Paul Mika (School of Management, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand)
Wayne Gordon Macpherson (School of Management, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand)

Cross Cultural & Strategic Management

ISSN: 2059-5794

Article publication date: 6 March 2020

Issue publication date: 30 June 2020



To explore the cultural context of Indigenous family entrepreneurs and to apply to them the concept of n-Culturals, thus contributing to validating the concept.


Interview data collected from Wayuu entrepreneurs in La Guajira region of Colombia and from Māori entrepreneurs in the Rotorua region of New Zealand were analyzed qualitatively. The analysis primarily focused on Wayuu entrepreneurs, with the results for Māori entrepreneurs used for comparison, to help to interpret the Wayuu data.


For Wayuu entrepreneurs, family members play a range of crucial roles in enterprise operations, with the family and the kin-centered local Indigenous community emerging as an informal organization surrounding the enterprise. Family is the source of Indigenous culture, while the mainstream culture is centered on global Western business culture, rather than the culture of the country. The Indigenous entrepreneurs integrate the values of the two cultures in managing their enterprises, thus acting as n-Cultural. Māori entrepreneurs who managed enterprises with a strong Indigenous character were similar in this respect to Wayuu entrepreneurs.

Social implications

As n-Culturals integrating the values of Indigenous culture and the mainstream culture, Indigenous entrepreneurs develop valuable traits, becoming a valuable component of the human capital in their regions, even when their enterprises fail.


Existing research on multicultural individuals is largely limited to immigrants and expatriates. By characterizing Indigenous family entrepreneurs as n-Culturals, the present study contributes to validating the concept and opens the way for further research on how Indigenous entrepreneurs manage their multicultural identities.



This research was funded by the Massey University Research Fund. This article forms part of a special section “Family Business and Local Development in Iberoamerica”, guest edited by Luis Gomez-Mejia, Claudio G. Muller, Ana Cristina Gonzalez, Rodrigo Basco.


Tretiakov, A., Felzensztein, C., Zwerg, A.M., Mika, J.P. and Macpherson, W.G. (2020), "Family, community, and globalization: Wayuu indigenous entrepreneurs as n-Culturals", Cross Cultural & Strategic Management, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 189-211.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited