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Towards understanding social innovation in multicultural societies: Implications of Māori cultural values for social innovation in New Zealand

Anne de Bruin (School of Economics and Finance and New Zealand Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research Centre, Massey University, New Zealand)
Christine Read (New Zealand Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research Centre, Massey University, New Zealand)

Social Enterprise Journal

ISSN: 1750-8614

Article publication date: 12 March 2018

Issue publication date: 10 May 2018

1374

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to argue, using the New Zealand context as reference, that heterogeneous societies with diverse cultures have an expanded space of possibilities for developing social innovations.

Design/methodology/approach

Incorporation of the cultural context is integral to finding innovative, collective solutions for mitigating complex social problems and sparking transformational social change. Empirical support for this contention draws on examples of social innovations that embed the cultural values of Māori, New Zealand’s indigenous people.

Findings

Using illustrative cases, the authors highlight the capacity of Māori values, encompassed in an ecosystem of Māori social institutions, to catalyse social innovation in New Zealand. The authors position these examples within two paradigms of social innovation.

Research limitations/implications

The paper limits its focus to the implications of Māori cultural values for social innovation. However, it serves to highlight that appreciation of indigenous and minority cultural values can provide a foundation for social innovations in other contexts too.

Practical implications

Recognising cultural values increases the range of possibilities for innovatively addressing social and environmental challenges.

Social implications

Respect and recognition of indigenous culture and knowledge offers potential for sustainable solutions to complex social challenges.

Originality/value

This is one of the few papers to explore the cultural embeddedness of social innovation and highlight public policy social innovations.

Keywords

Citation

de Bruin, A. and Read, C. (2018), "Towards understanding social innovation in multicultural societies: Implications of Māori cultural values for social innovation in New Zealand", Social Enterprise Journal, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 194-207. https://doi.org/10.1108/SEJ-09-2017-0048

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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