Building and Sustaining Authentic Partnerships – Business Readiness and Relationships with Aboriginal Communities in Northwestern Ontario
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In order to foster the future economic growth of Northwestern Ontario, cooperation and partnership with key groups are necessary. This exploratory case study identifies new economic trends in industry, focusing on partnerships involving Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal participants in business. The purpose of the study is to determine Northwestern Ontario’s readiness to engage in authentic partnerships. Several major themes came to light as a result of the research. These themes include: changing demographics in Northwestern Ontario; legal structure and framework of partnerships; duty to consult; an operationalized definition of authentic partnership; examples of successful partnerships and reasons for success; important leadership characteristics in partnership; critical success factors for partnership; outcomes of partnerships; examples of unsuccessful partnerships and lessons learned; future opportunities; possible solutions and methods to encourage sustainable authentic partnership leadership. Further, the critical success factors for building and sustaining authentic partnership appear to align with the Seven Grandfather Teachings, with the element of “time” as a moderator. This study contributes to an existing, but limited, body of research by providing practical solutions to assist parties in establishing successful authentic partnerships and by answering the question of Northwestern Ontario’s readiness to engage in partnership. Further research recommendations include a more thorough review of the Seven Grandfather Teachings with a focus on one specific case study. With additional work in this area, it is possible that participants to a partnership will not regress in their ability to create authentic partnerships and not repeat the mistakes of the past. The benefit of authentic partnerships between Aboriginal and nonAboriginal groups is the ability to move forward and to share in social, economic and relationship success.