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Building business cred in the hood: Traditional teachings and legitimacy management in indigenous communities

Jean-Charles Cachon (Department of Marketing and Management, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Canada)

Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy

ISSN: 1750-6204

Article publication date: 6 August 2019

Issue publication date: 21 August 2019

434

Abstract

Purpose

Primary sector firms by and large operate on indigenous territories across the world. In Canada, partnerships, land rights settlements, decolonization and reconciliation efforts provide indigenous communities with the financial means and the political power to stop projects they consider contrary to their traditions. How can companies acquire legitimacy among indigenous communities? This paper aims to answer this question by examining what the economic issues are among indigenous communities, how theories and practices of sustainable and legitimacy management articulated and how some basic notions of traditional indigenous teachings could inform non-indigenous managers are and help them interact better with indigenous leaders and their communities.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper was informed about indigenous knowledge by secondary and primary indigenous and business sources from North America and from other areas such as Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Information about business relations with indigenous communities and stakeholders mostly came from non-indigenous sources, including scholarly results obtained within indigenous communities.

Findings

Sources of incompatibility between indigenous and European/Western worldviews are described. A selection of indigenous traditional beliefs and decision-making processes are presented, based on indigenous traditions around the Great Lakes region of North America. A discussion of desirable options for both indigenous and non-indigenous decision-makers to establish business legitimacy by overcoming their misperceptions is included.

Practical implications

A better understanding of economic issues in indigenous communities, indigenous perspectives and current developments, as well as lessons from the recent decades on successes and failures at establishing business legitimacy among indigenous communities, will help government and business decision-makers, as well as students and academic scholars.

Originality/value

Mainly based on management legitimacy theory and Anishnaabe knowledge, this paper makes an original contribution to the understanding of Indigenous strategic thinking in North America in its interaction with business legitimacy building issues.

Keywords

Citation

Cachon, J.-C. (2019), "Building business cred in the hood: Traditional teachings and legitimacy management in indigenous communities", Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Vol. 13 No. 4, pp. 525-554. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEC-05-2018-0032

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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