Presentation Details

The Fourth International Conference on Knowledge, Culture and Change in Organisations

The "Last Frontier" For Indigenous Life Histories: A Suggested Framework for Recording and Analysing Australian Indigenous Tertiary Business Graduates' Life Histories

Keith C. Truscott, Craig Standing.

First, a description of the relevance of life history approaches in assisting qualitative research (Brown 2002; and Jackson and Finney 2002) will be given. Next a description of the history and relevance of past and contemporary Australian Indigenous life histories will be summarised.

Second, an explanation of a unique Indigenous-specific tertiary business course (Campbell 2001) that some nine Australian Indigenous students completed after three years will be given. It consists of course detail (a practicum, theory and skills stream) and stakeholders involved (staff, teachers, course advisory group).

Third, the meaning of “last frontier” in relation to the “acquiescence” model of cultural difference is described which is seen in the context of applying global and local frames of reference for models of cultural change. The more common global reference theorists advocate cross cultural communication theory (Hesselgrave 1991), categorisation of culture and cultural systems (Harris and Moran 1999), six dimensions of cultural diversity (Hampden-Turner and Trompenaars 2000) and seven dimensions of cultural difference (Hofstede’s 2001). Next, some local models of cultural change presented tend to advocate consideration of a “frontier thesis” (Turner’s 1920), cultural contract perspectives (Francis 1981), cultural boundaries (Milnes 1985) and resistant “frontier” concepts (Reynolds 1996). Finally, the mix of global and local frames of reference is then checked against a suggested three tier system of individual, family and community responses for the particular group of Australian Indigenous tertiary business graduates.

Fourth, the “acquiescence” model of cultural difference will be applied on the previously described Indigenous life history approach. This seeks to ask a key question. “Who, what, when, where, why, how and who is being acquiesced in the cross-cultural relationship?” Some of the answers will give interesting insights as to the presuppositions, locus of control, “last frontier” experiences, and construction of Indigenous business graduates.


Keith C. Truscott  (Australia)
Lecturer in Indigenous Australian Studies
School of Indigenous Australian Studies
Edith Cowan University

Born in Larrakia country (Darwin, Northern Territory) and spent childhood years in Mission home. Received formal non-Indigenous education to University level. I am married with three children and several grandchildren. Interests are development of Indigenous community in spiritual, political, economic, technological and social areas.

Craig Standing  (Australia)

Edith Cowan University

  • Cultural difference models
  • Indigenous life history
  • Indigenous student construction
  • Indigenous Business degree course

(Virtual Presentation, English)