Osama bin Laden

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Osamabin Laden

Osamabin Laden

Osamabin Laden was the founder of al-Qaida, the organization that claimedresponsibility for the 9/11 attacks on the US, along with severalother mass-casualty attacks globally. He was a Saudi Arabian and amember of wealthy bin Laden family. Osama has been best viewed as aterrorist CEO. Under his leadership, al-Qaida applied modernmanagement and business administration practices to realize itsterrorism goals and objectives[ CITATION Hof03 l 1033 ].

Thispaper examines Osama’s leadership.

Osamabin Laden’s Leadership

Asmentioned in the introduction, Osama applied business administrationand modern management techniques to lead al-Qaida and ensure that thegroup achieved its objectives. He acquired this knowledge and skillsfrom his family’s construction business. Osama took advantage ofthese leadership skills to effectively manage a transnationalterrorist organization. In the 1990s, Osama applied what executivesof multinational companies were doing in the industrialized world toimprove their edge in their respective industries[ CITATION Hof03 l 1033 ].Forinstance, he implemented flexible organizational strategy andframework incorporating both bottom-up and top-down as well asmultiple level approaches. Using the top-down approach, Osama came upwith clear goals and objectives, issued orders, and ensured they werecarried out as expected. Followers were obligated to follow hisinstructions in his capacity as the leader. Normally, this is howal-Qaida organizes its activities to this day as the strategy provedto be effective[ CITATION Sch111 l 1033 ].

Osamaalso applied venture capitalist strategies to lead his followers.This is an individual who often solicited ideas from those below hisranks. He encouraged his members to come up with creative ideas onhow the terrorist group was to execute its activities. Osama went tothe extent of funding projects and proposals he found promising. Thisis unlike other terrorist groups in the region that emphasize the useof force and leaders making all the decisions while followers areonly charged with executing the same[ CITATION Sch111 l 1033 ].Osamararely used punishment or coercion as tools to get people to dothings. In fact, this was a leader who was keen to moderate thebehaviors of radical terrorists. Osama tried to persuade them toavoid similar practices as he considered them less effective as theyresulted in activities that made it easy for the government to detectterror practices. Moderation of behavior enabled Osama to ensureal-Qaida’s activities, and operations remained secretive to greaterextents[ CITATION Has01 l 1033 ].

Osamawas also a flexible leader who adapted to different situations withease. It is well-documented that the al-Qaida leader moved from onecountry to another in his quest to realize the organization’smission. For instance, he fought the Soviets in Afghanistan beforereturning to his home country where he was expelled. He decided tolive in Sudan and build an extensive network of terror[ CITATION Has01 l 1033 ].Later on, he was pressured to leave the country and returned toAfghanistan.Upon his return, he struck a friendship with leaders in the country,with this helping him to establish a number of training camps for hisfollowers. Generally, according to research, each stop along theleader’s journey, he was able to adapt to the local culture andcreated a stronger network of allies. This is among the leadershiptraits that made it hard for the United States to apprehend him formany years[ CITATION Sch111 l 1033 ].

BinLaden was also a leader who believed in developing his followers.Specifically, he ensured al-Qaida members had the necessary skillsand knowledge integral for them to handle roles and tasks allocatedto them. He established training camps in different countriesincluding Afghanistan and Sudan to ensure followers had what it tookto launch terror attacks and avoid detection by law enforcementpersonnel in different target countries[ CITATION Sch111 l 1033 ].TheSeptember 11 attacks proved just how meticulous Osama was in comingup with plans and executed them. Individuals were exposed to thoroughtraining to ensure they did not make mistakes when executing attacks.Osama also relied on training to motivate followers to carry outattacks. In essence, individuals were confident to take part in theorganization’s activities as a result of having the right skillsand knowledge[ CITATION Hof03 l 1033 ].

Osamawas also a leader who believed in the need for followers to alignthemselves with the terror group. He felt a code of conduct anddisciplines were necessary to achieve particular objectives regardingterrorism. An al-Qaida’s manual that was obtained during a raid inManchester, England revealed that some behaviors and values weredemanded from all members. These included, among others, a commitmentto the organization, a calm personality, patience, and the Islamicfaith. Every member was expected to display such values withoutfailure[ CITATION Hof03 l 1033 ].


Osamafounded and led al-Qaida, a terrorist organization that has for manyyears caused devastations across the world through its deadlyattacks. Bin Laden is believed to have been an effective leader, eventhough he was leading an illegal group. He applied differentleadership approaches to realize his goals and objectives. This isalso a leader who relied on techniques unpopular among most terroristorganizations in the present-day.


Hashim, A. S. (2001). The World According to Usama Bin Laden. Naval College Review.

Hoffman, B. (2003). The Leadership Secrets of . Retrieved from The Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2003/04/the-leadership-secrets-of-osama-bin-laden/302702/

Scheuer, M. (2011). Osama Bin Laden.Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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