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Problem solving: an Islamic

approach
Dr. Ridhwan Fontaine
Leadership Development Centre
Multimedia University

RESERD 2008

14th – 16th January 2008, PRIMULA Beach Resort

Ridhwan Fontaine (012 3760747)


Ridhwan Fontaine (012 3760747)
The problems Muslims face in
Malaysia include, ….
• Not yet achieved the objectives of the NEP

• Lagging behind in terms of religious


awareness

• Lagging behind in terms of ethical behaviour

Ridhwan Fontaine (012 3760747)


Does that have to be the case?

• There has been many ‘theories’ to explain


the (perceived) under-performance of
Muslims worldwide. Many of these theories
are unscientific and racist.

• From an Islamic perspective, the issue is


simple: How many Muslims really use the
Qur’an and Sunnah as a guide in their
(working) life?

Ridhwan Fontaine (012 3760747)


Our focus: Problem solving
• Research shows that most decision
makers in organizations are TERRIBLE at
solving problems. Not bad, but terrible.
The reasons include:

– Unstructured approach to problem solving


– Unfounded assumption
– Ethical “short-cuts”
– Analysis based on perception
– And many more,…..
Ridhwan Fontaine (012 3760747)
The A6H model to solve problems
• Based on Surah Al Asr (A)

• Based on 6 hadith (6h)


– Intention
– Avoiding the doubtful
– The religion is “naseehah”
– Not harming or reciprocating of harm
– Stop committing sin, do as much good as you can
– No innovation in religion

Ridhwan Fontaine (012 3760747)


Applying the A6H model
• In September 2007, the LDC organized an
Islamic camp for 21 MMU students.

– We discussed the A6H model in some detail


– They were given a 12 page case study of
Wal-Mart (a very successful company but with
many ethical issues).
– They analyzed it and came up with some
decent conclusions
Ridhwan Fontaine (012 3760747)
The result?
• The A6H model is a systematic problem
solving model. It acts as a check-list of Islamic
concerns when solving problems.

• Most participants were excited: “following the


Qur’an and Sunnah” is too broad. Now, the
focus is more manageable: using the A6H
model.
Ridhwan Fontaine (012 3760747)
The next stage?
• We did a one day camp with students. The
LDC wants to organize a 3 day workshops
with professional managers.

• This is still an experimenting phase. We


need feedback from practitioners to make
the A6H model practical and useful for
industry. People should contact us with that
expectation in mind.

Ridhwan Fontaine (012 3760747)