Leadership Development in the Middle East

Leadership Development in the Middle East

Edited by Beverly Dawn Metcalfe and Fouad Mimouni

Leadership in the Middle East has never been as vital as it is in the wake of the global financial crisis and the Arab Spring – yet there is a lack of detailed knowledge concerning strategies for developing capacity in leadership, national skills and knowledge management. This volume aims to address this deficit. This book is the first text on the subject of leadership development in the Middle East to be published in English (drawing on both English and Arabic scholarship) and will contribute to the knowledge and understanding of leadership theory and practice in the global economy.

Chapter 2: Globalization, Governance and Leadership Development in the Middle East

Rodney Wilson

Subjects: business and management, critical management studies, politics and public policy, leadership


Rodney Wilson INTRODUCTION The question of whether management culture is universal or society specific has long been debated in the Middle East, with those who accept the latter suggesting that there may be some characteristics of Arab and Islamic culture that are inimical to business development. Business leaders in the Middle East appear to accept cultural relativist arguments, believing that their values are rooted in their culture and religion. For much of the twentieth century business leaders in the Middle East were rather defensive of these values, fearing that they were being marginalized in a global business culture dominated by Western thinking. In the twentyfirst century, however, a new confidence is emerging, as global business becomes more culturally diverse and Middle Eastern entrepreneurial role models become increasingly prominent. The revival of political Islam has legitimized governance regimes administered by shari‘a doctrine and jurisprudence and distinctive models of Islamic leadership are increasingly advocated as stimulating economic advancement. However, as Chapra (1993) observes, with Middle East Islamic states there is a need to reinforce moral values in leadership roles by socio-economic means in such a manner that individuals in society serve their own self interest within the constraints of social well-being and economic stability. Although values are crucial for business, an organization’s success also depends on its systems of control and governance. Hence increasing international attention has been paid to issues of corporate governance, but it is only very recently that this has received any attention in the Middle East. Corporate...

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