I would like to redefine management from the Islamic perspective as Integrated activities of thinking, planning, organizing, leading, and controlling, interconnected with decisions, involving the use of resources – human, financial, information and physical, with objectives of attaining goals of maqasid al-Sharia, by means of effective and efficient methods. Profit is just like oxygen in our body, but it is not the point of life, but without oxygen there is no life
- Management in the 20th Century
In the 20th century, non-Muslim management thinkers or scholars looking at management in different perspectives, namely,  Psychological Perspective,  Sociological Perspectives, and  Scientific Perspective, and the management gurus, according to these different perspectives, were as follow:
· Ordway Tead (1891) Human nature and management; the applications of psychology to executive leadership,
· Walter Scott and J. Mooney
· Elton Mayo (1949), The Human Problems of an Industrial Civilization
· Mary P. Follett (1868-1933)
· Max Weber (1868-1920)
· Chester Barnard (1886-1961)
· Rensis Likert (1903-1981)
· Chester Argyris (1923)
· Henry R. Towne (1890), Science of Management
· Henry L. Gantt (1910), Gantt’s Charts
· Frederick Winslow Taylor (1911), Principles of Scientific Management
· Frank and Lillian Gilbreth (1917), Applied Motion Study
· H. Dodge, Ronald Fisher (1890–1962), Introduced Statistical Techniques into Management.
· Patrick Blackett (1940), Combined Statistical Theories with Microeconomic Theory and gave birth to the Science of Operations Research in Management.
It is observed that these different management gurus as mentioned above defined management differently according to their own background experiences in the industries as well as their background training. For example Ronald Fisher was a statistician, and both Frank and Lillian Gilbreth were industrial engineers. The search for better understanding of management is still going on, yet with more acceptable understanding of management, there is still a missing link and incomplete.
- Definition of Islamic Management
Today, it is generally accepted and practiced, that management is meant to involve activities which include planning, organizing, leading, and controlling. Griffin (1996) defined management as set of activities (including planning and decision making, organizing, leading, and controlling) directed at an organization’s resources (human, financial, physical, and information, with the aim of achieving organizational goals in an efficient and effective manner. This definition is more complex than what Taylor (1903) was trying to define management as knowing exactly what you want people to do, and then seeing that they do it in the best and cheapest way.
From my practical experiences for many years in many different companies, both at national and international levels, the definition of management [Planning, organizing, leading and controlling], which is acceptable by many today, including many contemporary management scholars, is rather incomplete. There is a missing link. On many occasions proposals were thrown with a common remark “not enough thinking’ was put into the proposals. The worst experienced I had in my life, was the remark made by an Executive Chairman, in a big Malaysian multinational company, when he threw a proposal made by a Group Managing Director to the board’s meeting. His remark was “My dog can think better than you”, and this unpleasant remark is still implanted in my mind.
Western scholars including management gurus, segregate knowledge and religion. The solution which is simple and being ignored, as always being reminded by God in several verses in our Holy Quran as follow:
Quran 6:50 “Why you do not think”
Quran 23: 80 ‘Why you do not use your intelligent”
I have advocated “thinking” as part of management process when I was teaching to MBA and business students at Selangor International Islamic University in 2008, as well as my many lectures at various universities in Malaysia and Europe, including Europe International Islamic University,[ Istanbul campus], as well as business communities. I have explained this additional function in my book entitle “Berfikir Seperti Genius’ [Think Like Genius] .
Since Islam gives special emphasis on “thinking” in whatever we do in life - in our private life, as well as, in managing a society or an organization, I would like to put thinking as an important function or process in management. Thus from Islamic perspective, I would like to redefine management as follows:
Integrated activities of thinking, planning, organizing, leading, and controlling, interconnected with decisions, involving the use of resources – human, financial, information and physical, with objectives of attaining goals by means of effective and efficient methods.
I would like to explain further what I mean “the objectives of attaining goals” in my definition of management above. In Islam the goals in our daily life are beyond financial returns. Even in business, Islam looks beyond profit. Though profitability is one of the objectives of business enterprise, but it is not the ultimate goals. Think of the following statement:
Profit is just like oxygen in our body, but it is not the point of life, but without oxygen there is no life
I would like to advocate Maqasid al-Sharia as the integrated goals of management. Therefore my earlier definition of management from Islamic perspective shall be more precise, and thus how I would like to define Islamic Management as follows:
Integrated activities of thinking, planning, organizing, leading, and controlling, interconnected with decisions, involving the use of resources – human, financial, information and physical, with objectives of attaining goals of maqasid al-Sharia, by means of effective and efficient methods.
My definition of Islamic Management may be capsulized or summarized in the form of the following matrix: