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Insights from an indigenous research methodology


This paper explores the notion of complexity as it arises in organizational research. In particular, we consider kaupapa M?ori research as a transformational Indigenous methodology that not only enables research in Indigenous M?ori contexts, but operates at the intersection of Western and Indigenous worlds. Our conceptualization of an Indigenous methodology incorporates complexity through paradigmatic plurality and explicitly acknowledges the characteristics of emergence and self-organization at the heart of kaupapa M?ori research. The consequences are widespread not only for researchers and practitioners of organizations, but also for a perception of Indigenous business that is true to the Indigenous logics in which they are grounded and reflective of good practice. As such, our focus is on the complexity required of research if it is to reflect the views of Indigenous and mainstream simultaneously and be able to claim that it genuinely captures the diversity and dynamics of a complex society.


Blind ignorance misleads us thus and delights with the results of lascivious joys.

O! wretched mortals, open your eyes.

The Da Vinci Notebooks, 1182

In organizational research, what is seen is heavily influenced by the lens through which we look. There is increased concern with the prevailing orthodoxy governing management and organization that positions the ways scholars and managers ‘see’ themselves and the organizations in which they work as overly simplistic (Lichtenstein et al., 2006; Stacey, 2007). However, twenty-first-century management and organization faces complex challenges in the contemporary business world, which calls for innovative ways of understanding and researching organizations and organizational phenomena (McKelvey, 2011; Richardson, 2011). Much of the debate centers on the notion of ‘context’ and how it is conceived of and empirically explored in accounting for organizational, collective or individual cultural distinctiveness (Jack et al., 2013; Ruwhiu & Cone, 2010). This concern with context, is in part, a response to the increasing dissatisfaction with the overwhelming dominance of Anglo-American values, interests and theoretical frameworks that have cast the ‘non-Western’ or ‘Indigenous’ to the margins (Jack, Westwood, Srinivas, & Sardar, 2011; Jack et al., 2013). Hence, for the purpose of this paper, we explore the intersection between complexity thinking and an Indigenous perspective that enables a better understanding of, and outcomes from, the complex encounter between the Western and the Indigenous in organizational research.

Complexity research plays an important role in organization science and management (Allen, Maguire, & McKelvey, 2011; Anderson, 1999; Lichtenstein et al., 2006; Maguire & McKelvey, 1999) and is open to new research methods and epistemologies (frameworks of knowledge) for understanding the nature of, and processes underlying, emergence and complex adaptive systems (Allen et al., 2011; Lichtenstein & McKelvey, 2011). Our focus is on those aspects of complexity science that assist our understanding of the process of organizational research in a culturally constituted and complex social system (Anderson, 1999; Tapsell & Woods, 2008). The specific system we explore here is Te Ao M?ori, an Indigenous M?ori worldview. M?ori are tangata whenua (people of the land) referring to their prominence as first nation peoples of New Zealand, located in the South Pacific with a population predominantly of European descent. M?ori business has a growing profile in the New Zealand and global economy with significant stakes in the agriculture, fishing, forestry and tourism sectors.

Consequently, we are seeing increased attempts to research and understand the unique perspective of organization and practice that persist for M?ori businesses today. A key feature, of which, is the bi-cultural legislative infrastructure that recognizes a political relationship between the majority P?keh? (non-M?ori) and peripheral M?ori populations. On the surface, this legislative infrastructure offers a bi-cultural utopia that provides an alternative model for living together (Maaka & Fleras, 2005). The reality, however, is very different. New Zealand is a nation built in the image of Western imperialism established early on in its colonial trajectory. Therefore, in the context of organization studies, the process of research has been well implicated in the [re]production of economic, social and symbolic inequalities (Jack et al., 2011; Prasad, 2012; Westwood & Jack, 2007).

Indigenous peoples have different ways of ‘viewing’ the world, through the lens of their own philosophical orientation, logics, discourse and practices (Smith, 2012). This paper draws attention to an alternative methodology, using an Indigenous epistemological lens, in the form of kaupapa M?ori research (i.e. research process grounded in Indigenous M?ori tradition), in which we argue the dynamics of complexity are created and deconstructed through naturally occurring processes of Indigenous knowledge production. In doing so, through the deployment of Indigenous considerate research methods, research challenges are exposed, allowing for richer exploration of the nuances emerging from the complex encounter between the Western and the Indigenous in organizational research.

In acknowledging a new era of organizational research we focus on the transformative realisation of paradigmatic pluralism that accepts alternative ontologies, epistemologies and worldviews, as reflected in both Indigenous and complexity science perspectives (Jack et al., 2011; Richardson, 2011; Van Uden, Richardson, & Cilliers, 2001). To do this we first provide a brief background of complexity science and an Indigenous worldview, such as Te Ao M?ori, as it relates to complex adaptive systems. We then discuss the cohabitation of Indigenous methodology and complexity thinking in the form of kaupapa M?ori research as an example of the paradigmatic pluralism called for in contemporary organizational research (Andreotti, Ahenaakew, & Cooper, 2011; Jack et al., 2011; Ruwhiu & Cone, 2010; Spender, 1998). Our contribution is an understanding of innovative methodologies, such as that offered by kaupapa M?ori research that enriches our exploration of Indigenous organizational contexts. In addition, we suggest that understanding the dynamics of an Indigenous M?ori worldview (knowledge and value systems) has much relevance to contemporary business and society within the New Zealand context, which in turn has broader implications for the development of context and value-rational understandings of organizations more generally around the world.

Complexity: Embracing an Indigenous worldview

Central to our argument is the supposition that currently organizational research is ‘blind’ to and therefore fails in meeting the real interests of Indigenous communities, as long as the central philosophical assumptions of the research process remain solely in the tradition of Western intellectualism (Jack et al., 2011; Prasad, 2012). Certainly, with regards to organizational research involving Indigenous communities, the vital elements missing are Indigenous historical, cultural and spiritual foundations that are grounded in a complex dynamic of multiple traditions of knowledge and knowing (Smith, 2012). We argue that a complex perspective in combination with the philosophical underpinnings of an Indigenous worldview provides a space of interrogation that requires the consideration of multiple perspectives. Therefore, enabling approaches to research that from the epistemological framework, to the gathering and analysis of data, genuinely engage and reflect social reality (Van Uden et al., 2001). The merit of such paradigmatic pluralism is social inquiry that not only gives voice to historically silenced communities in organizational research, but also offers a deeper understanding of the complex realities faced by organizations in general.

Emergence and complexity in organization studies

Complex systems comprise a large number of constituent entities interacting interdependently, whose aggregate activity is non-linear and behaves according to some rule or force that relates each to other parts (Allen et al., 2011; Maguire & McKelvey, 1999; Van Uden et al., 2001). Central to complexity theory is the premise that everything is interconnected, and systems have multiple, overlapping hierarchies, that contain other complex adaptive systems (Van Uden et al., 2001). Complex adaptive systems are idealized complex systems, which contain more intricate parts, which in and of themselves are described as complex and that interact non-linearly. Complexity science also encompasses the systemic study of new structural order that emerges in social systems through self-organization, adaptation and learning (Lichtenstein & McKelvey, 2011; Richardson, 2011). As individual entities respond to their own specificities over time, and in parallel with other interacting parts, qualitatively distinct patterns emerge of their own accord, without explicit co-ordination (Maguire, Allen, & McKelvey, 2011). These interactions give rise to emergent properties that are different than the properties of the individual entities, and incorporate a self-organizing logic (Tapsell & Woods, 2008). A result of which is clearer understanding for the nature of, and processes underlying, agent self-organization and emergence that integrates a variety of organization studies frameworks and enables researchers to draw together disparate threads of theory and practice (Lichtenstein & McKelvey, 2011).

We focus on the notion of dynamic complexity as described by Chia (1998) to counter what he calls the reductionist tendencies of traditional conceptions of complexity science to simplify the vague complexes of sense-experience and compress them into conventionally recognizable and accepted forms of discourse. Dynamic complexity arises from the “immanent in-one-anotherness of moments of experience and hence their intrinsic non-locatable and interpretive nature” (Chia, 1998: 349). This realization of complexity thinking enables us to reflect on the humanness of organizations and organizing. To think ‘complexly’ in the context of organizations is to recognize the immanent, enfolded and implicate character of the organizational phenomena that includes a qualitative accounting of human experience (Chia, 1998). Acknowledging complexity in organization studies enables a view of the phenomena of organization as comprising the series of relationships amongst “multiple actors with diverse agendas, internally and externally, who seek to coordinate their actions so as to exchange information, act, and interact in a non-linear and dynamic way” (Thietart & Forgues, 2011: 53). Organizations are complex adaptive systems involving the self-organization and adaptive behavior of individuals, groups, co-evolving within a social ‘ecosystem’ (Maguire & McKelvey, 1999; Tapsell & Woods, 2008). Part of the experience of any agent operating within the system is the interaction with others who will in general have different perspectives and views on reality that will not necessarily coincide. Such systems never achieve optimal end-points as they continue to evolve, but steadily exhibit new forms of emergent behavior (Holland, 1992), embracing the appearance of qualitatively new features and the disappearance of old ones as a naturally occurring feature of evolution and qualitative development of structure and organization (Chia, 1998; Maguire et al., 2011).

Complex adaptive systems are also relevant in exploring the interactions that occur within social structures as a medium to better understand the social world (Allen et al., 2011; Chia, 1998; Tapsell & Woods, 2008). In this regards we mean complexity in human society, which is made up of aggregated collectives of habituated social norms and behavioral codes of particular societal groups (Chia, 1998). That is, adaptive agents that interact with other forms of structured relations, which themselves adapt through time (Hodgson, 2011). We suggest that exploring worldviews is an essential precursor to understanding the complex realities of human experience and assuring genuine scholarly engagement in organizational research and practice. We now turn to consider the notion of Indigenous worldviews that have their own structuring assumptions, values, concepts, orientations and priorities grounded in Indigenous knowledge systems. Thus, when we consider organizations and research through the filter of an Indigenous worldview the paradigmatic qualities takes on the physical, spiritual and philosophical characteristics. We use the terminology of paradigm in its meta-theoretical philosophical sense to denote an implicit or explicit view of reality or worldview (Morgan, 1980). This paper draws from the perspective of Te Ao M?ori, or an Indigenous M?ori worldview.

Emergence and complexity in an Indigenous paradigm

Te Ao M?ori, or the M?ori world, locates M?ori philosophy, ethics and knowledge (wisdom) in a central role, and is therefore foundational to M?ori thinking and practice (Marsden, 2003). Central to this understanding of the world is a value rational pragmatism grounded in the assumption that the whole world is an integrated system (Ruwhiu & Cone, 2010) of interconnected, and multiple, overlapping hierarchies, that contain other complex adaptive systems. This understanding of the world reflects the way in which people perceive and understand the world and, therefore, situate the logic that guides their practice (Markus & Kitayama, 1991), which in this instance is kaupapa M?ori, “the M?ori way” (Henry & Pene, 2001: 235). Kaupapa M?ori describes traditional M?ori ways of doing, being and thinking that is informed by collective and inter-generational wisdom embodied by Te Ao M?ori.

At the heart of Te Ao M?ori, the M?ori world, matauranga M?ori refers to the complex systems of traditional knowledge, or tribal epistemologies. In this sense, matauranga M?ori provides understanding about what is significant in M?ori lives, serving to frame the common responses and routine ways of understanding the world and grounding what it means to be M?ori. Dynamic complexity is captured in the inherent fluidity of lived experience and the “acute sense of transience and temporality accompanying the profusion of events encountered in the moment-to-moment heterogeneous becoming of our lives” (Chia, 1998: 348). For M?ori, knowledge is not a linear representation of facts. Rather it is a cyclical or circular representation that takes into account collective meanings; relations between objective structures and subjective constructions; and temporal dimensions such as how meanings and relationships can change over time. As such, it is knowledge constituted by Indigenous reality, grounded within a specific socio-cultural context, that is “nested in a network of hierarchical relations with other fields” (Wacquant, 1989: 48). That is to say, an Indigenous paradigm is and of itself a domain of knowledge that operates independently to, but also concurrently with other domains of knowledge associated with Western paradigms.

M?ori operate through the continual transformation of social activity, where individuals are both individually and collectively oriented. Typical of a complex adaptive system, M?ori social organization is processed through links to distinct territories and hierarchically based tribal configurations providing interaction of different degrees (Petrie, 2006). Self-organization, in an Indigenous M?ori worldview is the consequence of the connections between individuals and collectives of wh?nau (family), hap? (clan) and iwi (tribe), allowing for a variety of re-groupings in the face of social, political, or economic stress (Petrie, 2006). This also draws us to the notion of whakawhanaungatanga, defined here as the process of identifying, maintaining, or forming past, present, and future relationships providing insight into a worldview that engages the taken for granted experiences of ‘being’ M?ori, influenced by both individual and collective dispositions.

Bishop (2008) regards kaupapa M?ori as a discourse of proactive theory and practice which is closely associated with the increasing political consciousness of M?ori people, the basis of which is embedded in the notion of autonomy, operationalized in a kaupapa M?ori approach as tino rangatiratanga, or self-determination (Durie, 2001; Henry & Pene, 2001; Pihama, Cram, & Walker, 2002). The Indigenous position on self-determination in practice therefore is that individuals are free to determine their own goals, to self-organize and make sense of the world in their own culturally generated manner (Bishop, 2008). Such a position is consistent with Indigenous peoples’ concerns regarding a sense of identity, ownership and control of resources. It is important to note that from a M?ori worldview this self-determination is in relation to others, “with this notion of relations being fundamental to M?ori epistemologies” (Bishop, 2008: 441). Hence, M?ori communities act as a complex adaptive system when considering how interactions are guided by the knowledge value system embodied by Te Ao M?ori, enabling the emergence and self-organization of individual and collective identities operating within self-generated boundaries (Tapsell & Woods, 2008).

From an Indigenous perspective, research, in many, if not all, of its approaches, including those associated with the more interpretive, qualitative, subjective domains, has served as a metaphor for colonial knowledge, for power (Faria, Ibarra-Colado, & Guedes, 2010). Kaupapa M?ori research is identified as a culturally constituted approach challenging and critiquing inappropriate ideologies of superiority, power relations and social practices that disadvantage M?ori (Walker, Eketone, & Gibb, 2006). This perspective is one for which complexity and Indigenous theorists have long campaigned for in relation to a more contextualized research space in the domain of organization and management that allows for alternative perspectives (Chia, 1998; MacLean & MacIntosh, 2011), and more specifically indigenized research (Jack et al., 2011; Ruwhiu & Cone, 2010).

Indigenous methodology: Kaupapa M?ori research

Where a M?ori worldview is the primary orienting mechanism for organizational research we are drawn to the jurisdiction of kaupapa M?ori research. Specifically, we are arguing here for a research approach that responds to a model of inquiry that offers very little substance when used to investigate Indigenous populations. In that model, practitioners and researchers generally take for granted the binary categories of Western thought supporting cultural relativity and engage in the inversion of the colonizer/colonized relationship which does not address the complex problems of power relations (Smith, 2012). Kaupapa M?ori research is a M?ori research tradition that affords primacy to M?ori cultural values and systems (Smith, 2012; Walker et al., 2006) without subjugating or reducing other values and systems. Thus, kaupapa M?ori research avoids the structuring of reality in terms of binary oppositions that has in the past privileged the superiority of Western oriented criteria for authority, representation and accountability.

In a paradigmatic sense, kaupapa M?ori research sets the field of study, defines what needs to be studied and what questions should be asked (Smith, 2012). As such, it presents a regime that provides a template for a culturally attuned response to M?ori research (Ruwhiu & Cone, 2010). Kaupapa M?ori research locates as central the underlying epistemological assumptions central to the sense-making and knowledge creation cycle in Indigenous M?ori contexts. M?tauranga M?ori, or M?ori epistemology, emphasizes the inter-connectedness of humanity and the world (both visible and invisible) that plays a role in knowledge acquisition and dissemination, and advocates for multiple ways of knowing and knowledge. Thus reflecting an ‘epistemological pluralism’ that emphasises the provisional, multi-vocal and dynamic nature of knowledge production, which enables the possibility of the emergence of different forms of dialogue focusing on the value of contestation (Andreotti et al., 2011; Ruwhiu & Cone, 2010).

Seven key themes have emerged that are most commonly used to guide kaupapa M?ori research towards respectful, reciprocal and genuine relationships between the researcher and the researched (Smith, 2012). Importantly, they are not meant as prescribed codes of conduct, but as a set of M?ori cultural values that outline researcher responsibilities:

  1. Aroha ki te tangata - enable respect and empowerment for people within the research process.

  2. He kanohi kitea - illustrate your commitment by showing up and being a face that is seen and known to those who are participating in research.

  3. Titiro, whakarongo...korero - Look, listen and then, later, speak. Researchers need to take time to understand people's day-to-day realities, priorities and aspirations.

  4. Manaaki ki te tangata - being open to sharing, hosting and being generous with time, expertise, relationships, etc.

  5. Kia tupato - being cautious through ensuring culturally safe practices.

  6. Kaua e takahia te mana o te tangata - do not trample on the mana (dignity) of people.

  7. Kia mahaki - being humble. Researchers should find ways of sharing their knowledge while remaining humble.

Intrinsically kaupapa M?ori research comprises values which accept and embrace complexity through an interactional orientation within a community of interests; it ensures that M?ori maintain conceptual, methodological, and interpretive control over research; and it is a philosophy that guides the research and ensures M?ori protocol will be followed during research processes (Henry & Pene, 2001; Pihama et al., 2002; Smith, 2012). In relation to the research outcome this means two things: First data collected comprises a genuine richness that includes M?ori viewpoints which might have been silenced via more mainstream approaches; and, second it enables complex data collection both with regard to participation inside the research and with capacity to account for a myriad of perspectives and ways of valuing and interpreting the complexity represented.

Kaupapa M?ori research draws from traditional beliefs and ethics, while responding to the quest for tino rangatiratanga (self-determination and empowerment) for M?ori people (Bishop, 2008; Smith, 2012; Walker et al., 2006). It is a perspective that offers a broader intellectual and political context that emphasizes interdependence and spirituality as fundamental to the process of knowledge production and dissemination. It is implicitly founded on collective consciousness, and historical and cultural concepts that are not necessarily reflected in positivist or anti-positivist categorizations. This does not negate the applicability of the methods associated with these paradigms, but rather speaks to the underlying assumptions, processes and application of research for both the researcher and the researched (Henry & Pene, 2001; Smith, 2012). Such contextualized approach to research necessarily precludes research designs that are fully specified and reliant on law like generalizations at the outset (MacLean & MacIntosh, 2011).

Finally, kaupapa M?ori research is also concerned with the space between Indigenous and Western worldviews as sites ‘struggle’ and ‘competition’ (Smith, 2012) and it is one such transformative approach we argue is necessary to imagine radically innovative ways of doing organizational research. As Smith (2012: 193) suggests “…it is also a social project; it weaves in and out of M?ori cultural beliefs and values, Western ways of knowing, M?ori histories and experiences under colonialism, Western forms of education, M?ori aspirations and socio-economic needs, Western economics and global politics”. Therefore, self-organization and emergence is evident in both the content and process of kaupapa M?ori research. Understanding what constitutes complexity in organizational research at the location of emergence between Indigenous and Western spaces of knowledge production, inevitably involves understanding what constitutes the contested and power-laden spaces and how they interact and mix with one another over time. When examined from this perspective and given that the encounter between the Indigenous and Western is always hybrid, always in chaos, complexity science makes sense as a relevant cohort in organizational research. A complex systems perspective, in combination with an Indigenous paradigm, such as kaupapa M?ori research, introduces one such transformative approach to organizational research by understanding the process of research as an emergent event, evolving out of a constant state of tension and negotiation.

Transformative organizational research

Organizations, and the processes of research we utilize to better understand them, are inherently volatile, unstable and the result of on-going processes and interactions (Van Uden et al., 2001). Contemporary organizational research is challenged by changing structure and operational scope of organizations, and the broader dynamics of globalization, which brings with it market and workforce diversity, emphasizing the criticality of responsiveness to change (Chia, 2011; Cohen, 1999). This paper reflects concern with the one-size-fits-all mandate of managerial behavior and organizational forms of practice and behavior that dominate understandings of and approaches to organizational research (Jack et al., 2013). Within this space of complexity and conflict alternative methodologies arise, including Indigenous methodologies, such as kaupapa M?ori research. Kaupapa M?ori research is an approach that embraces the complexity enabling deeper understanding, drawing out and giving voice to an Indigenous perspective otherwise marginalized by dominant discourse and associated research methods.

In taking this view we are adding our voices to the movement away from the dominant, universal approaches to organizational research (Andreotti et al., 2011; Jack et al., 2013; Ruwhiu & Cone, 2010). Kaupapa M?ori research is research that draws and theorizes from ancestral legacies (Cooper, 2012), which connects humanity to society and the natural environment; challenging Western academy as the sole source of knowledge production and cultural capital (Henry & Pene, 2001); and importantly, offers a lens through which tino rangatiratanga, the natural right of self-determination for M?ori peoples is invoked (Bishop, 1996). However we also suggest that the utility of an Indigenous paradigm goes beyond a simple focus onto Indigenous contexts, instead offering a perspective that enables genuine engagement at the site of the complex encounter between Western and Indigenous in organizational research. Such an interrogative space is essential in contextualizing the complex relations of power that operate between, and within, the Western and Indigenous world (Westwood & Jack, 2007). We propose an Indigenous paradigm, in the form of kaupapa M?ori research, as a complex adaptive system offering a transformative research design that naturally transverses the traditionally boundaries of Western and Indigenous worlds to expose the complex dynamics of the space in-between. In research, this process of reconciliation is at the heart of alternative intellectual frameworks offered by complexity and Indigenous scholarship that allow for analysis and representation of research, derived from a culturally constituted knowledge base (Jack et al., 2011; Ruwhiu & Cone, 2010).

The intersection of complexity, Indigenous worldview and organizational studies has drawn us to a space that is characterized by paradigmatic diversity (Ruwhiu & Cone, 2010; Thietart & Forgues, 2011). This duality in research approach is critical to overcoming the privileging of certain forms of knowledge construction and distribution activities. Paradigmatic pluralism enables scholars to define problems and examine cultural preferences from the perspective of a particular culture’s epistemological base (Deetz, 2000). The fairly obvious conclusion for organizational analysis is that it should never restrict itself to mono-paradigmatic thinking, instead requiring the adoption of a pluralist position (Van Uden et al., 2001). In Spender’s (1998) view a pluralistic epistemology seeks to capture different types of knowledge, differentiated according to (a) the ways in which the various types of human knowledge are distinguished, and (b) the ways in which they are interrelated and formed into coherent knowledge systems. Our articulation of Te Ao M?ori embodies a culturally specific value orientation of practice, traditional cultural norms and beliefs guided by m?tauranga M?ori, which grants a central role to the relational and pluralistic characteristics of knowledge. This perspective encourages a multiplicity of voices and potentialities that challenge the dominant frame of thinking on which much of our current thought regarding knowledge in management and organization stem from (Richardson, 2011; Ruwhiu & Cone, 2010).

Importantly, it is the process of kaupapa M?ori research, and not the specific logic or values underlying the methodology as these are unique to Te Ao M?ori. However, what it does do is open our eyes to the potentiality of other First Nations or communities worldviews in exposing the academy to innovative methodologies that give weight to more deeply contextualized processes and relations. Therefore, the context of an Indigenous worldview has implications for the study and practice of Indigenous organizations, and organizational studies in general. An important consideration is contemporary discussion and debate on how Indigenous knowledge and the scientific approach to research could be integrated in order to advance Indigenous development agendas. For example, Durie (2004, 2005) has introduced the concept of interface research, which he argues more accurately reflects the contemporary experience of M?ori living and engaging with two worlds. It shares with us our proposition that kaupapa M?ori research offers the ability to traverse the two domains in order to advance M?ori development by bridging the benefits that arise from each (Durie, 2004). This, we suggest provides credible interrogative space, which appeals to the promotion and formation of locally relevant theories

Kaupapa M?ori research has already been extensively applied onto research in the wider community of New Zealand within health, education and social sectors as well as the service and political sectors. To date the approach has unrealized potential for the study of management and organizations (Henry & Pene, 2001; Ruwhiu & Cone, 2010). However, the past several years has seen a growth of scholarly applications of kaupapa M?ori research empirically in the domain of management, organizations and business (for example Ruwhiu & Cone, 2013; Spiller, Erakovic, Henare, & Pio, 2011). These empirical works each draw from kaupapa M?ori in its paradigmatic form and in doing so illustrate implications for business and society in general, and establishing a perspective of business as value-based rather than solely based on an economic activity. Needless to say, further theoretical development of kaupapa M?ori research in organization studies is essential, not only to assure the integrity of research with our M?ori organizations, but to further explore the transformative potential of complexity thinking and paradigmatic pluralism.

Concluding remarks

Our aim in this paper has been to generate new insights and thus contribute to expanding possibilities for thought and action in organizational research by locating a legitimate intersection of Indigenous and complexity thinking in relation to organization studies. Drawing from the philosophical cohabitation between Indigenous and complexity perspectives, enables us to construct a transformative mode of social inquiry that makes visible the historically obscured community of voices in organizational research. In recognizing how the process of complexity is articulated within an Indigenous worldview the academy’s ‘eyes-are-opened’ to the potential of a culturally conscious approach to management and organization studies that responds to the contexualized/localized needs of communities in which it is practiced. Its importance lies in how it prompts us to reconsider how we manage, think about and work in contemporary organizations.

We have presented an Indigenous research methodology and argued for its utility in research with Indigenous M?ori organizations that operate in a bi-cultural world. We suggest further that it offers more than just an approach well suited for Indigenous M?ori research but rather it fits more broadly with numerous other spaces around the world. Hence, further contribution is made to the literature discussing the complexity required of research if it is to reflect the views of Indigenous and Western simultaneously and be able to claim that it genuinely captures the diversity and dynamics of a complex society. Embracing alternative or other first nation paradigms extend current research practices and a sensitivity to reveal more than current tools in research offer. The consequences of this are widespread not only for the researchers and practitioners of management and organization studies, but also for a perception of Indigenous business that is true to the Indigenous logics in which they are grounded and reflective of good practice. Understanding organization studies from the unique perspective of a community, such as Indigenous M?ori, where a colonial historical trajectory has made living on the edge of chaos the primary way of life, may encourage more diverse and meaningful questions about management and organization in culturally complex environments.



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