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Native American, leadership, authentic leadership, collective identity, American Indian, culture, international business leadership


Tribally-owned American Indian enterprises provide a unique cross-cultural setting for emerging Native American business leaders. This paper examines the manner in which American Indian leaders negotiate the boundaries between their indigenous organizations and the non-indigenous communities in which they do business. Through a series of qualitative interviews, we find that American Indian business leaders fall back on a strong sense of “self”, which allows them to maintain effective leadership across boundaries. This is highly consistent with theories of authentic leadership. Furthermore, we find that leaders define self through their collective identity, which is heavily influenced by tribal affiliation and tribal culture. We add to the literature on authentic leadership by showing the role that culture and collective identity have in creating leader authenticity within the indigenous community.

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This is the author accepted manuscript version of:

Stewart, D., Verbos, A, Burmingham, C., Black, S., & Gladstone, J. (November, 2017). Being Native American in business: Culture, identity, and authentic leadership in modern American Indian enterprises. Leadership. 13(5), 549-570. © The Author(s)