Joe Gladstone Drives Native and Indigenous Identity in Management Sector

By Sue McMurray

As one of six Native American business management professors in the United States who study the intersection of Indigenous cultures and business education, Joe Gladstone says Washington’s rich tribal population was a major selling point when he was considering moving back to his home state.

The WSU Everett campus, where he works as a career-track assistant professor of management, is in close proximity to his family members as well as regional Tulalip, Nez Perce, and Blackfeet Tribes as well Canada, where his work extends.

“My return to the state of Washington places three of us [Native American business professors] in one state, with two close colleagues at the University of Washington-Bothell and Gonzaga,” he says. “Given the very low numbers of Native American business professors across all disciplines who commit to scholarship and service to tribal and urban Native communities, my long-term goal is shifting paradigms, even if just a slight bump, when it comes to preparing future Native American management and business doctoral students for service to their communities.”

Building the Academy of Management

Gladstone has dedicated the majority of his career to building a Native and Indigenous Peoples presence in the Academy of Management, the preeminent professional association for management and organization scholars.

Ten years ago, he created the Native and Indigenous Peoples Caucus, a coalition of management scholars specifically within the academy. The caucus brings together diverse Native and Indigenous members of the academy and non-Native/Indigenous members who share an interest in Native and Indigenous issues in management. The foremost goal is to coordinate scholarship among members and increase publication of independent work, he says.

“My work focuses on understanding what tribes need when it comes to culturally and strategically relevant management and business education for their communities so they can improve business development and public service organization efficiency,” he says.

Infusing tribal expertise into the classroom

Gladstone plans to infuse his expertise in tribal ethics and work values into his Carson College courses, attract students into management doctoral studies, and build strong Native American and Indigenous identity within the academy.

He says he’s most excited about building WSU Everett’s management program. His focus areas include organization behavior, enterprise development, business and society, and management ethics.

“I like seeing students discover themselves as effective, efficient, and ethical leaders who value cultural diversity,” he says. “The most rewarding thing is seeing the light bulbs switch on when my students grasp and understand the material I’m teaching.”

“I am very excited to have Joe as part of the MISE department,” says Robert Crossler, chair of the MISE department. “In addition to his interests in connecting Native People with a business education, he also brings an engaging approach to teaching.”

A career dedicated to a deeper understanding of management science

Before coming to WSU, Gladstone was an assistant professor of management/health care administration at the University of New Haven in Connecticut, focusing on organizational management and business ethics in the context of health care administration.

Earlier, he was an assistant professor at New Mexico State University, where he earned his doctorate. While there, he explored connections between the American Indian worldview and western management science as it applies to health program management within tribal communities. He also taught graduate and undergraduate courses in program administration, planning, and policy.

Throughout his academic career, he has worked to advance management education for Indigenous communities. His work contributes to building a deeper understanding about the role management education can contribute to the United Nations sustainable development goals, especially those focusing on decent work and economic growth, infrastructure, sustainable cities and communities, and social justice.