Character centered leadership: Muhammad (p) as an ethical role model for CEOs

Rafik I. Beekun (Managerial Sciences Department, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada, USA)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Publication date: 19 October 2012



The purpose of this paper is to examine the leadership style of Muhammad (p) within a character‐centric framework as a useful alternative to the transactional, self‐centered model and the value‐neutral transformational approach that currently permeate business management. The author differentiates such perspectives from the character‐centered, moral approach to leadership suggested by the Qur’an and modeled by Muhammad (p), and proposes that this approach may be of practical use to CEOs.


A conceptual, comparative discussion of Muhammad's leadership style based on the primary Islamic sources is shown to have practical implications for the leadership process in management.


The current malaise in business leadership can be resolved by a new focus on character and on virtues.

Practical implications

The character‐centered, moral approach of Muhammad provides exemplars of virtues and behaviors that, if emulated by CEOs, may help pre‐empt potentially self‐serving, individualistic and narcissistic tendencies.


The leadership model of Muhammad has been applied to a number of arenas before, but this is the first attempt at explicating the Qur’anic emphasis on the role‐modeling aspects of his character (khuluqin azeem). When fully expounded, it is likely to offer a more virtue‐centric alternative to transactional and/or transformational approaches to leadership and their associated relativistic values.



Beekun, R. (2012), "Character centered leadership: Muhammad (p) as an ethical role model for CEOs", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 31 No. 10, pp. 1003-1020.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.