Purpose – 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. Design/methodology/approach – The paper reviews the Muqadimmah , (Prolegomena or the introduction), which contained his most important views of the issue. Findings – 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. Originality/value – The paper argues, that leadership research could benefit from the contributions of Ibn Khaldun in developing models that take different cultures into perspective.
Journal of Management History – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jan 11, 2008
Keywords: Leadership; North Africa; Islam
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