The influence of Islamic values on management practice in Morocco

Gillian Forster, John Fenwick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
125 Downloads (Pure)


This article explores how Islamic values influence management and business practice in Morocco with a view to a new understanding of how one of the global, socio-political tides of the early twenty-first century is now beginning to make itself felt commercially. An interpretivist approach, coupled with access to a rich and hitherto inaccessible mix of diverse and highly placed participants, allows the authors to augment extant research with a vivid rendering of the lived reality of Islamic management practice. And in consequence, sweeping monocultural generalisations about national character and practice can be refined into a nuanced and layered analysis of actual management behaviour. In order to understand how Islamic values influence management practice the findings unravel what has hitherto been presented in the extant literature as a Gordian Knot of complex influences. By putting the voices of participants ‘centre-stage’ the Gordian Knot is replaced by the metaphor of the Arabesque, a Moorish artform typically comprising motifs of flowing branches, leaves and scroll work all interlaced and entwined. Just as these typical motifs are ever-present in the form of the Arabesque yet take on a unique pattern in each individual depiction, so it is with the characteristics which influence management practice in Morocco. The principal motifs elicited from participants include: ‘living’ Islam (including the interaction of Islam and personal beliefs, alongside the influence of kinship); Islam versus Moroccan Islam (the national culture's ingestion of a religion); national characteristics of family and patriarchy (including the support that employees expect from their managers); socio-economic factors, in particular education and gender (life experiences including education and the home); and foreign influences (the impact of Western colonialism). This research identifies that these principal motifs are ever-present in their influence on management practice, yet in each individual's case the pattern of such influence bears the unique imprint of the individual manager's own religiosity and character.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-156
JournalEuropean Management Journal
Issue number2
Early online date9 May 2014
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


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