Comparing Behaviors of Indigenous Artisans and Business Professionals: Differences in Paradigms, Purposes and Perspectives

Prof. Elizabeth Mariotz,
Dr. Steven C. Dinero,
Dr. Parimal Bhagat
To add a paper, Login.

A primary objective of our three-year project in Native Alaska was to enhance local economies while preserving indigenous cultures. We sought to strengthen selected villages through the sale of handicrafts via e-commerce. In turn, it was anticipated that villagers would gain more self-reliance and a better quality of life.

As the project unfolded, it became apparent that there was a disconnect between our expectations and reality. Most of the craftspeople were older women who had learned their craft at a very young age. They lacked experience with digital technologies and Western business models. Further, they lacked the confidence and motivation for participation deemed necessary by those who designed the e-commerce business.

As a result of working with these artisans and observing their behavior, we asked ourselves: 'Do indigenous artisans follow a comparable approach to craft production, marketing and sales to that of a western business model?' And if not, how might the two systems be integrated to achieve a more successful economic venture?

The following factors were considered in the comparison: business acumen; work ethic; technological knowledge; relationship values; and trust.

We conclude with the contention that indigenous values should not be viewed as 'obstacles' to craft marketing in the global economy, but rather, are simply additional factors which should be considered when attempting to superimpose a 'Western' mode of economic development upon indigenous craft producers.

Keywords: Cultural Sustainability, Economic Sustainability, Crafts, Merchandising, Economic Development, Alaska Natives, Indigenous People, Self-reliance, Quality of Life, Artisans Values
Stream: Cultural Sustainability, Economic Sustainability
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Prof. Elizabeth Mariotz

Assistant Professor, School of Business Administration, Philadelphia University

Dr. Steven C. Dinero

Associate Professor of Human Geography, School of Liberal Arts, Philadelphia University

Dr. Parimal Bhagat

Associate Professor, School of Business Administraton, Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Ref: S06P0249