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

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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.

Keywords

Citation

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. https://doi.org/10.1108/02621711211281799

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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