Influence of Islam on Leadership & Teamwork in Private and Public Sectors in Saudi Arabia

Topics: Leadership, Management, Government Pages: 5 (1341 words) Published: May 30, 2008

Arabic heritage and history is rich with great leaders. This is due to the fact that our Islamic teachings develop the personalities of Muslims to obtain many great characteristics which include the characteristics of effective leaders. Islam does teach people how to be emotionally intelligent and be self and socially aware as well as self controlling and socially skilled. The history of Arabs has so many examples; Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) is a perfect example of a great leader as he was a very charismatic visionary, trustworthy, thoughtful, confident, considerate and ethical as well as spiritual. Those characteristics were very important for the transformational leadership that he practiced since the beginning of Islam. Also, the Islamic values that encourage team work as the holy prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said: “God’s hand is with the team”

Nowadays, however, Arab businesses are in desperate need for effective leaders and teams. As they are usually either unable or unwilling to perform teamwork and leadership effectively, or simply ignoring the basic principles of effective leadership and teamwork in some cases. However, the approaches used in Arab organizations can be classified depending on the authors' classification of those institutes. In the following pages, Arab organizations will be classified in the following way depending on the authors' subjective impressions on the way things are running in each of them; Governmental sector and private sector. Those two classes will be analyzed in the aspects of leadership and teamwork.


Team work is a grouping of small number of employees with complementary skills to collaborate on a project and to perform tasks that contribute to achieving an organization’s goals. One of the most important factors that can affect team work is the culture. Recalling what we said in the introduction, the Arabic culture is so related to the values of Islam. However, most of the daily practices of Arabs nowadays are far from the teachings of Islam especially in work. We will discuss different team work behaviors in the government sector and the private sector.

Government Sector:

The government sector in an Arab environment is mostly characterized by low team work competencies. Most of the organizations in the government sector use a bureaucratic approach of management that is characterized by centralized decision making, and lots of rules and standards of how each task is performed. Due to these policies, team work is deactivated. Moreover, the employees of the government sector are more likely to think of their own achievements over their unit’s goals whether it’s a department, division, or the organization itself which will put barriers against team work. However, the main factor that produces low team work competencies is the lack of training on team work skills in these organizations.

Private Sector:

The private sector organizations in an Arab environment show more promising in team work by providing training and own cultural influence. Training usually comes first before anything in these organizations and even continues through the employee’s career life as needed. The training includes all the competencies needed to perform the job and usually team work is one of them. Moreover, despite the culture of the employees, they are required to adapt the organization’s own culture in their practices. When Saudi Aramco, for example, came first as a private company in Saudi Arabia, it trained its Saudi employees on specific habits and practices that were absent in the Saudi culture at least at that time. These practices include time management, safety awareness, and team work. These practices became part of the employees’ culture and were passed to their own families.


Arab organizations utilize leadership in different ways depending on the mentality of employees and managers and it usually depends on the type of organization and...
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