Document Type


Publication details

Maher TG 2017, 'Aboriginal economic development : a theoretical analysis of why Aboriginal economic development policies fail', DBA thesis, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW.

Copyright TG Maher 2017


The research addresses the question of which economic factors are important for improving the economic development of Aboriginal/Indigenous Peoples within Australia and which factors hinder their economic development progress, with reference to homo-social reproductive activities and lateral violence. The research examines Aboriginal/Indigenous and non-Indigenous management structures and management practices within organizations and government agencies that develop and implement strategies and policies that impact upon Aboriginal/Indigenous Australians.

The research undertakes a mixed methods research analysis of the levels of investment, or lack of investment, in the five major factors of economic development suggested by Meier (1984), which include land, labour, capital, investment in education and entrepreneurship. In addition to these factors, the research examines Aboriginal /Indigenous social and cultural values and various government policies that impact on Australia’s Indigenous people. More specifically, the study interrogates the levels of funding provided for management, governance and policy and program development and implementation. The research also investigates how an Aboriginal bureaucratic kinship system is developed within the Aboriginal/Indigenous socio-economic development framework, and how homo-social reproductive activities and Aboriginal bureaucratic kinship behaviours interrelate with the management, governance and policy processes and outcomes within these areas.

Aboriginal bureaucratic kinship behaviour and homo-social reproductive activities relate to the employment and/or consultation of Aboriginal people/groups and/or individuals that are of the same and/ or lesser ability or knowledge than those managing the organization. The research will therefore explore the role of these types of activity in relation to the consultative processes used to develop strategies and policies impacting on Australia’s Aboriginal/Indigenous Peoples. The research will specifically look at similar research by Kanter (1977), Elliot and Smith (2004), and others who have studied how these managerial practices are used to exclude certain genders and/or racial groups. Finally, the research looked at how these activities are developed and sustained over time, and whether the factors and mechanisms associated with Aboriginal bureaucratic kinship behaviour and homo-social reproduction theory operate within the Aboriginal/Indigenous economic development framework, is the central concern of this research.