Joe Raelin

Joe Raelin

A well-known professor committed to practical application of democratic principles for individual and organizational development

Areas of expertise

Collective leadership and learning development

Professional summary

JOE RAELIN is an internationally-recognized scholar in the fields of work-based learning and leadership. He holds the Asa S. Knowles Chair of Practice-Oriented Education at Northeastern University in Boston and is also Professor of Management in the D’Amore-McKim School of Business. He received his Ph.D. from the State University of NY at Buffalo. His research and consulting have focused on human resource development, focusing in particular on executive education through the use of action learning.

A prolific writer, Joe has written for the leading management journals, among which are some seminal works cited liberally in his fields. Among his books are: The Clash of Cultures: Managers Managing Professionals, considered now to be a classic in the field of professionals and bureaucracy (Harvard Business School Press, 1991), the latest edition of Work-Based Learning: Bridging Knowledge and Action in the Workplace (Jossey-Bass, 2008), Creating Leaderful Organizations: How to Bring Out Leadership in Everyone (Berrett-Koehler, 2003), and most recently to accompany the latter, The Leaderful Fieldbook: Strategies and Activities for Developing Leadership in Everyone (Nicholas-Brealey, 2010).

He is recipient of the 2010 David Bradford Outstanding Educator Award from the OBTS Teaching Society for Management Educators as well as the 2013 Cooperative Education and Internship Association James W. Wilson Award for outstanding contributions to research in the field of cooperative education.

Joe is currently contributing to the development of the field of work-based learning as well as to the new paradigm of shared leadership via what he refers to as "leaderful practice." These two domains intersect accordingly in terms of:
1) dialogue and reflective practices – how does the facilitation of real dialogue lead to change that everybody can live with?
2) work-based learning and collective leadership – when leadership is viewed as a collective phenomenon and a practice, can it produce, as promised, higher levels of genuineness, innovation, and imagination and, in turn, do these outcomes shape both well-being and the bottom-line?

Engagement overview

My consulting follows an action research modality wherein I conduct diagnostic discussions with clients regarding their organizational problems and then recommend appropriate interventions, some of which I am called upon to deliver.  Hence, I operate primarily as an OD consultant and team facilitator.  My principal area of expertise is collective leadership or what I call: "leaderful practice."


Wide variety; key is commitment to unleash the creative potential of their workforce for purposes of full engagement and productivity.