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Indigenous perspectives on work-life enrichment and conflict in Canada

Mark Julien (Goodman School of Business, Brock University, St Catharines, Canada)
Karen Somerville (Department of Management and Economics, Hamline University, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA)
Jennifer Brant (Tecumseh Centre, Brock University, St Catharines, Canada)

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

ISSN: 2040-7149

Article publication date: 13 March 2017




The purpose of this paper is to examine Indigenous perspectives of work-life enrichment and conflict and provides insights to better support Indigenous employees.


Interviews were conducted with 56 Indigenous people from six Canadian provinces. In total, 33 of the respondents were female and 23 were male. The interview responses were transcribed and entered in NVivo10. Thematic analysis was used.


The authors’ respondents struggled with feeling marginalized and felt frustrated that they could not engage in their cultural and family practices. The respondents spoke of putting family needs ahead of work and that many respondents paid a price for doing so.

Research limitations/implications

The results are not generalizable to all Indigenous peoples, however these results do fill a void in the literature.

Practical implications

Employers must consider revising policies including providing more supervisor support in the form of educating supervisors on various Indigenous cultural practices and examine ways of providing more flexibility with respect to cultural and family practices.

Social implications

Indigenous peoples have been marginalized since the advent of colonialism. This research addresses a gap in the literature by presenting how a group of Indigenous respondents frames work-life enrichment and conflict.


Very few studies have examined Indigenous perspectives on work-life enrichment and conflict using a qualitative research design. It also aligns with one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s calls to action.



Julien, M., Somerville, K. and Brant, J. (2017), "Indigenous perspectives on work-life enrichment and conflict in Canada", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 165-181.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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