Betty Ofe-Grant

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Lecturer / Researcher

Phone: +64 9 921 9999 xtn 6871

Email: Betty.ofe-grant@aut.ac.nz

Qualifications:

  • PhD in Management - Human Resources
  • Master of Human Resources & Organisational Development (Australia)
  • Bachelor of Business (HRM)
  • Certificate: Introduction to Teaching ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages)

Memberships and Affiliations:

  • Southern Cross University Alumni
  • The University of Auckland Alumni
  • Beta Gamma Sigma
  • FONO Samoa
  • KIN

Biography:

Betty Ofe-Grant is a New Zealand-born Samoan of mixed descent from Otara, South Auckland. Prior to becoming an academic and researcher, Betty worked extensively in the NZ private and public sectors with a focus on Pacific issues and Human Resources.  Her research about the ‘brown glass ceiling’ for Samoans led to national and international exposure from the Samoa media, New Zealand Television, RadioNZ, Radio 531 PI, and BBC radio concerning the career barriers and facilitators that deny access or, assist with the ascension to boardroom and executive positions for Pacific people.

Her research findings indicated that Samoans juggle two separate cultures and values side-by-side, that is, Samoan and Palagi (Western-NZ). These values are diametrically opposed to one’s belief system and identity and may lead to misinterpreted social-interactions in team meetings, interviews, performance appraisals, and dialogues. More specifically, the Samoan concepts of fa’a aloalo (respect) and tautua (service) are most often misconstrued across cultures.

Other barriers included racial discrimination, tokenism, labour market segmentation and bias from other Samoans. As such, Betty is a consultant to several projects including film, radio, and research concerning Pacific careers, employment, labour migration, management, literacy and numeracy, and discrimination.

Betty is the first Samoan to graduate from the University of Auckland Business School with a Phd in Management.

Teaching Areas:

  • Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Diversity at Work

Research Areas:

  • Pacific Labour Migration
  • Diversity
  • Management
  • Employment Relations
  • Careers
  • Discrimination
  • Literacy and Numeracy
  • Pacific International Business
  • Pacific Methodologies

Current Research Projects:

  • The Incorporation of Vanilla in the South Pacific: Samoa, the Cook Islands and Niue.& Project researcher for the University of Auckland, the New Zealand Institute of Pacific Research and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
  • The Cultural Trappings of ‘Respect’ for Pacific People during Performance Appraisals Meetings and Job Interviews.
  • Theorising ‘U’u Coconut Crab Syndrome’ (Samoans and Tagata Pasifika).

Publications:

  • Ofe-Grant, B.L. (2018). Smashing through the ‘brown glass ceiling’: Exploring perceived barriers and facilitators to career advancement for Samoans in Aotearoa, New Zealand. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). The University of Auckland, New Zealand. http://hdl.handle.net/2292/45109
  • Ofe-Grant, B.L. (2018). Career challenges and strategies for contemporary Samoan CEOs and senior managers in New Zealand. Paper presented at the ‘Islands and Oceans: An International Conference for Pacific Research’, 29-30 November. The New Zealand Institute of Pacific Research.
  • Ofe-Grant, B.L. (2018). Leading the future by remembering the past: The legacy of our forefathers for the next generation of Samoan senior managers and leaders. Paper presented at the ‘International Samoa Conference IV Proceedings’, 4-6th September, National University of Samoa.
  • Sisifa, S., Ofe-Grant, B.L., & Stringer, C. (2019). Opportunities to improve vanilla value chains in small Pacific Island Countries. (Samoa, the Cook Islands and Niue). A report for the New Zealand Institute of Pacific Research and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Awards:

  • 3-Minute Thesis Competition winner, PhD Category, Nga Pae o te Maramatanga, The University of Auckland (2016).
  • PhD Travel Grant Awards (2015, 2017, 2018) Management & International Business, The University of Auckland.