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Human resource development, motivation and Islam

Muhammad Burdbar Khan (School of Humanities & Social Sciences, Al Akhawayn University, Ifrane, Morocco)
Naeem Nisar Sheikh (School of Engineering and Science, Al Akhawayn University, Ifrane, Morocco)

Journal of Management Development

ISSN: 0262-1711

Article publication date: 19 October 2012




An increasing number of human resource development (HRD) theorists and researchers are calling for a broader philosophical framework for HRD within management practice. The concept of workplace spirituality has received significant attention in this context. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the role of religion of Islam in filling this need for a spiritual philosophical framework and to highlight the lessons that can be learned from Islamic traditions. Finally, the authors call for revisiting some of the major motivation theories of HRD.


After discussing relevant philosophical, spiritual and HRD literature, this paper proposes modification in expectancy theory of motivation.


This paper emphasizes holistic education and human development in HRD. It proposes an enhanced role for objectives’ valence and value in organizational motivation. It also shows how earlier Islamic traditions had already practised the modern HRD principles.

Research limitations/implications

Being conceptual and theoretical in nature, the suggested motivation model needs rigor, further testing and empirical analysis.

Practical implications

The paper suggests that HRD ought to incorporate holistic education and human development as its main drivers. Furthermore, organizations need to put more emphasis on the value of ethical and normative objectives that may involve delayed or reduced gratification.

Social implications

The paper implies that by giving more emphasis to the value of ethical and moral goals, organizations and human resources would be more responsible to social responsibilities.


The paper proposes a new dimension in the expectancy theory of motivation and also provides justification for the role of spirituality as a philosophical framework in HRD.



Burdbar Khan, M. and Nisar Sheikh, N. (2012), "Human resource development, motivation and Islam", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 31 No. 10, pp. 1021-1034.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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