Overcoming challenges faced by pale-skinned aboriginal men on mainstream western boards

Masters Thesis

Cahill, Wayne. 2023. Overcoming challenges faced by pale-skinned aboriginal men on mainstream western boards. Masters Thesis Master of Professional Studies (Research). University of Southern Queensland. https://doi.org/10.26192/z5723

Overcoming challenges faced by pale-skinned aboriginal men on mainstream western boards

TypeMasters Thesis
AuthorsCahill, Wayne
1. FirstProf Karen Trimmer
2. SecondA/Pr Renee Desmarchelier
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameMaster of Professional Studies (Research)
Number of Pages125
PublisherUniversity of Southern Queensland
Place of PublicationAustralia
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26192/z5723

This research explored impacts and influences on pale-skinned Aboriginal men in leadership positions on executive and management boards within mainstream work environments from a first-person perspective. There is currently a dearth of research on the knowledge, experience, and insights of these insider men and therefore on potential ways to overcome the negative and harness the positive impacts and influences by investigating alternative approaches to boardroom practice. The methodology of Participatory Action Research (PAR) was chosen to conduct the research. Three pale-skinned Aboriginal men with board experience were selected to be part of an advisory panel (AP) as co-creators of knowledge about the challenges and enablers of productive board environments. Themes of connection, shared and distributed leadership, and yarning emerged as recommended guiding principles which might make for a more inclusive culture in mainstream boardrooms. These principles have the potential to positively influence a boardroom’s operations and help overcome some of the challenges that pale-skinned Aboriginal men experience in this environment. These Indigenous principles have been utilised by First Nations people for centuries and are critical for the wellbeing of communities. However, they are not recognised or validated within the dominant mainstream boardroom culture and modes of operation and this impacts on the perception of pale-skinned Aboriginal men as being valued for their contributions within mainstream boardrooms. This research showed how the dominant operating models for boardrooms can create challenges for pale-skinned Aboriginal men. A conceptual model for principle-based decision-making was developed consisting of principles, the law, and technical aspects. These are underpinned by respect and collectively they all influence the decision-making process. Focus and alignment with the guiding principles potentially grounds boardroom decision-making, connecting it to the community it serves with the potential to positively impact on the legacies of the boardroom.

Keywordsboardroom; leadership; Aboriginal; principle-based decision-making; pale-skinned; first-person
Contains Sensitive ContentDoes not contain sensitive content
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020350701. Corporate governance
350702. Corporate social responsibility
350707. Leadership
450506. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community governance and decision making
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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Education
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