Meaningful Careers in Social Enterprises in Remote Australia: Employment Decisions among Australian Indigenous Art Centre Workers

Pi-Shen Seet, Janice Jones, Tim Acker, Uma Jogulu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This research investigates why Indigenous workers decide to enter, stay or leave their positions in art centres that serve as important social enterprises in remote Australia. We develop a framework that integrates identity theory and push–pull theory via institutional logics, thereby extending Wry and York (2017)’s typology configurations that is applicable to other actors in the entrepreneurial eco-system, including Indigenous art centre workers. Based on a qualitative study of 72 Indigenous art centre workers employed in remote Australia, the results indicate that although art centres have dual for-profit and social missions, it is mainly pull factors related to paid, local employment aligned to vocational interests, and pro-social motives that are important in explaining why Indigenous Australians choose to work there. Career motives also explain workers’ decision to stay, while diverse pull and push factors explain why workers quit. Importantly, the factors that explain employment decisions are multi-factorial, interrelated and closely tied to the social and cultural logics of community life. The research furthers our understanding of how identity factors contribute to decisions by Indigenous art centres workers to enter, leave or stay in their role, providing a more complete understanding of HRM within the context of social enterprises.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1643-1684
Number of pages42
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Indigenous research perspective
  • social enterprises
  • institutional logistics
  • Remote Indigenous art centres
  • push-pull theory
  • Indigenous Australians
  • Social enterprises
  • institutional logics
  • push–pull theory
  • remote art centres
  • identity theory


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