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Ibn Khaldun of North Africa: an AD 1377 theory of leadership

Yusuf M. Sidani (Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut, Ras Beirut, Lebanon)

Journal of Management History

ISSN: 1751-1348

Article publication date: 11 January 2008




This paper's purpose is to present the works of a North African early contributor to sociological theory, Ibn Khaldun (1332‐1406), specifically pertaining to his conceptualization of leadership and the role of asabiya (group feeling) in leadership emergence.


The paper reviews the Muqadimmah, (Prolegomena or the introduction), which contained his most important views of the issue.


The paper develops an early model of leadership as described by Ibn Khaldun. This research study presents a different understanding of leadership that has applicability in a different era and in a different culture. The paper summarizes Ibn Khaldun's views on human nature, how leadership emerges, and the role of group feeling or asabiya in leadership situations.

Practical implications

The paper presents some implications of Ibn Khaldun's work for understanding leadership dynamics in a non‐western cultural context. It is suggested here that many of Ibn Khaldun's leadership propositions have particular significance for several non‐Western societies especially in the Middle East and North Africa.


The paper argues, that leadership research could benefit from the contributions of Ibn Khaldun in developing models that take different cultures into perspective.



Sidani, Y.M. (2008), "Ibn Khaldun of North Africa: an AD 1377 theory of leadership", Journal of Management History, Vol. 14 No. 1, pp. 73-86.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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