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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2020

Sam Alfoqahaa and Eleri Jones

Building on the contributions of chaos and complexity theories, this paper aims to conceptualize how the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson…

Abstract

Purpose

Building on the contributions of chaos and complexity theories, this paper aims to conceptualize how the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela were able to transform chaos (randomness) into order (integration). More specifically, it aims to identify the qualities by which such leadership worked in the context of conflict and cultural confrontations, which is, leading at the edge of chaos.

Design/methodology/approach

This research follows a qualitative approach in data collection and analysis; it narrates and analyses biographic data as well as literature about these three prominent leaders. Common qualities of these leaders are explored in-depth, discussed and linked.

Findings

Success in leading at the edge of chaos was attributed to the following leadership qualities: vision, non-violence and tolerance. This paper conceptualizes Gandhi, King and Mandela's embodiment of these qualities in transforming difference and disagreement to unity and how they inspired and developed their societies at home and all over the world. This paper concludes with the following results: Dr King, Gandhi and Mandela were visionary leaders; the three leaders had a vision about the future of freedom, equality and peace. More importantly, they were able to hearts and minds, and convey their visions to followers and to society at large. They struggled to achieve their goals non-violently, but knew that violence could destroy society due to unbalanced power structures. In the fight for their people's emancipation/freedom, they avoided ethnic, racial and religious discrimination. The three leaders were politically, culturally and socially tolerant.

Research limitations/implications

By identifying their leadership qualities and analyzing their leadership mechanisms, this paper stresses the necessity of the emergence and preservation of leadership as exhibited by King, Gandhi, Mandela and many other influential leaders. Leaders, committed to enrichment and sustainability of cultural diversity and nurturing of tolerance, can play a role in unifying nations. Practically put, today’s leaders need to rethink their strategies, by taking into consideration what Gandhi, King and Mandela have contributed to leadership in dealing with cultural diversity and conflict. Furthermore, leaders must extend the applicability of such leadership to include the ending of violence in every facet of people's lives, and work publicly to overcome the challenges encountering human kind such as nuclear weapons, war, poverty, racism, global warming, drugs, religious bigotry and violence of any kind. That is, today's leaders need to lead at the edge of chaos due to the ongoing conflicts around the globe.

Originality/value

This paper uniquely conceptualizes leadership qualities by analyzing and comparing literature and biographical data of the above-mentioned leaders. The study also contributes to the existing literature on leadership using an interdisciplinary approach by proving the mechanisms by which leadership transforms chaos into order within the context of cultural diversity and confrontation, where studies are rare. This research contributes to the theory of leaderships at three levels. First, it offers an interdisciplinary theory on leadership qualities by linking these qualities with chaos and complexity theories. Second, unlike the majority of literature which views leadership from a business or public leadership perspective, this research provides a new perspective of leadership for cultural diversity. Third, it highlights the role models of three exemplary leaders for each of whom previous literature is lacking.

Details

International Journal of Public Leadership, vol. 16 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4929

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 14 June 2018

Sam Alfoqahaa

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the success of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Palestine, and thus to contribute to the existing knowledge on the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the success of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Palestine, and thus to contribute to the existing knowledge on the critical success factors (CSFs) of SMEs in the Palestinian context, especially in the West Bank.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is comprised a survey of a convenience sample of 370 SMEs operating in the West Bank, Palestine. It uses a multiple regression analysis to examine the effect of a set of CSFs, namely, reputation of the brand, excellence of customer services, reliable delivery and product innovation on the success of SMEs.

Findings

The results show that brand reputation, excellence of customer of services and reliable delivery strongly influence SME success, while innovation is weakly associated with SME success. These results imply that success is tied to customers and competition more than to production, structures or finance. That is, reputable brands, excellent customer service and reliable delivery are means to success according to the results of this research.

Practical implications

The study emphasizes the need for Palestinian SMEs to maintain and develop their brand reputation, institutionalize customer service and develop its logistical systems and practices. Generally, the study suggests that there are specific investment areas for SMEs that can contribute to achieving success. Specifically, excellence in customer service was found to be the factor most linked to the success of SMEs, followed by reliable delivery and then by brand reputation and innovation.

Originality/value

While plenty of research has been done on what contributes to the failure or success of SMEs, research on CSFs for SMEs is limited. The study combines four CSFs not previously used in combination to model the successful performance of SMEs in general and in the Palestinian context in particular. Only some specific factors are critical to the success of SMEs and should be the focal point of SMEs’ efforts as long as they are consistent with their nature as small economic entities competing with big companies in small markets. Thus, instead of using general factors of SME success, the study explains how success becomes more possible through specifying areas for decision-making or activities for the entrepreneurs to undertake, keeping in mind that there is a mechanism by which these factors work together toward the success of the SME.

Details

Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, vol. 20 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1471-5201

Keywords

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