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Strategic Management from an Islamic Perspective: Text and Cases by Khaliq Ahmad, Rodrigue Fontaine

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Chapter 6

The Challenge of Culture

Introduction

We have discussed the fact that according to Chris Argyris, most organizations have a culture that promotes defensive routines. We have argued that the Islamic worldview can be understood from the meanings embedded in surah al fatihah, surah al takathur, and surah al asr. Many critics—Muslims and non-Muslims—would say something like, “Well, this is all very interesting, but this is all theory. In practice, there are no organizations that have an Islamic coporate culture, and it is impossible to develop such corporate cultures in real life.” We believe that such a criticism is misguided for two reasons.

First, there are organizations that are trying to develop an Islamic corporate culture and they have—to a certain extent—succeeded. We do not know their numbers, but they do exist and we know something about their approach to Islamic management (Fontaine, 2011a). We have met them in Malaysia and in the Middle East. Many such organizations are small, but a few are reasonably large. With the financial crisis in 2008 and the sovereign debt crisis in Europe that started in 2010, many Muslims have lost confidence in the Western approach to business, and more and more are trying to rediscover business principles implied in the teachings of Islam.

Second, building a corporate culture based on Islamic values is actually a very straightforward process. In fact, it is one of the areas in management where Muslim researchers and Muslim business ...

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