29 Aug 2014

Call for shift in business understanding

8:51 am on 29 August 2014

A professor in business management says Maori can be disadvantaged when applying for jobs due to cultural differences.

Jarrod Haar said Maori were traditionally brought up to praise other people but not themselves.

Massey University's Jarrod Haar argues humility could work against Maori in job applications and interviews. Photo: PHOTO NZ

A study by Massey University's Centre of Maori Business Research, Te Au Rangahau, found that after interviewing 31 Maori leaders, one of the main characteristics to shine through was their humility.

The centre's director said Maori could inadvertently be missing out during the screening of job applications and interviews because of that cultural conditioning.

Jarrod Haar, of Tainui, said Maori were traditionally brought up to praise other people but not themselves as they view themselves as part of a collective.

Mr Haar said Maori whakataukii, or proverbs such as "even the kumara doesn't speak about its sweetness", reflected that culture.

He said that did not serve Maori well when they wrote out job applications or in interviews, as they would downplay their individual successes, which could create a misconception that they were not "go-getters".

Mr Haar said there needed to be a shift in business organisations' understanding of Maori and how they presented themselves, which could be to their commercial advantage.

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