Chapter 7: Leadership Development Philosophy and Practice in Saudi Arabia
Fouad Mimouni and Beverly Dawn Metcalfe INTRODUCTION That the Middle East is at the centre of international focus and concern at the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century is without question. The reasons for this can be found in energy wealth – in the form of oil – and geopolitical considerations (Ali 1999). Saudi Arabia, with an estimated 20 per cent of the world’s known oil reserves (Energy Information Administration 2009) and a unique religious and cultural position as the home of Islam’s two most holy sites of Makkah and Madinah, is a nation central to the understanding of the politics and international relations of the Middle East. Yet dealing with the Middle East can be a challenging task for transnational companies, for consultants and academicians, and for the policy makers both of the West and of the Far Eastern nations which are increasingly concerned with the geopolitics of the area (Bilgin 2004). Such global participants, in encountering the Middle East, are more aware than ever of the subtle differences in thinking and worldview between their national cultures and those of the Middle East (Said 1981, 2001). As this chapter will argue, one discipline that has become crucially important is leadership development theory and practice. This arises from this discipline’s deep underlying universal philosophies concerning decision making, people behaviour in organizations, and business development across cultures (Ali 1996). Many Arab writers during the twentieth century and at the beginning of the twenty-first century have argued the necessity for a...
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