Engaging First Nations People at Work: The Influence of Culture and Context




Thiessen, Susan

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Administrative Sciences


The paper seeks to understand organisational context and culture’s influence on engaging First Nations People in Canada in work. Organisations have many opportunities to attract and engage Indigenous people, who have distinct worldviews and unique cultural customs not necessarily reflected in a North American workplace. Indigenous people also grapple with the historical and ongoing disparate impacts of settler colonialism that intersect colonial systems in most every area of their lives. This study worked within Indigenous research principles to encourage the articulation of deeply felt experiences and points of view of how First Nations people viewed and interacted with their work. The findings reviewed the experiences of twelve First Nations individuals working in non-Indigenous organisations. Through anti-colonial and critical organisational theoretical lenses, the study reveals how the context and culture that defined this sample of First Nations people shaped their views of what is essential to engaging them in the workplace. The findings illustrate what First Nations people would like to see in a workplace culture, what they feel needs to be recognised as part of their unique Indigenous context, and the approaches and practises that are most important for engaging them. Understanding the effect of context and culture on positive work interactions provides new information for organisational leaders, managers, diversity officers, and Human Resource practitioners to better support First Nations engagement in the workplace. It may also offer an approach to better engaging other culturally diverse organisational groups. The results add value to the fields of critical theory, anti-colonial theory, critical management studies, and Indigenous wholistic theory. The results further the discussion on the processes of decolonization and the recognition of Indigenous and minority rights in the workplace.



indigenous context, indigenous culture, decolonization, engagement, workplace


Thiessen, S. (2023). Engaging First Nations People at Work: the influence of culture and context. Administrative Sciences, 13(8), 179. https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci13080179