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Title: The challenges facing women entrepreneurs: a study on gulf cooperation council (GCC) countries
Authors: Taqi, Najma
Advisors: Özbilgin, M
Hamdan, A
Keywords: Gender;Barriers / obstacles faced by women entrepreneurs;Entrepreneurship;Female entrepreneurs;Developing countries
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: Women’s entrepreneurship is a much touted topic of research with researchers competing to contribute to the growing body of knowledge. Although literature is replete with articles and opinions on the various aspects concerning women’s entrepreneurship, still more needs to be done. Much of the research produced until now has focused on specific contexts like western countries and results obtained are either not conclusive or generalizable and in many cases incomplete. Research on women’s entrepreneurship conducted in the contexts of developing nations appears to be grossly inadequate, bordering almost on a neglected category. Specifically, research on women’s entrepreneurship conducted in the context of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Countries is almost nil except for a few sporadic articles here and there. How women entrepreneurs have fared in the GCC countries is not clear and there is a need to know what their current status is, how they have performed and what challenges contribute to their lack of progress. There is a huge gap in the literature in this area and this research has made some modest contributions to remove this gap partially. The literature review shows that a number of challenges affect women entrepreneurs’ success. Although the research output used in this research was derived from studies conducted largely in a western context, some of the factors grounded in theories like institutional theory were found to be applicable to the context of women entrepreneurs in the GCC. Five of these challenges, namely lack of adequate training and education; legal constraints; cultural constraints and a lack of social support; lack of access to financial resources; and work–family interface have been investigated in this research using a conceptual model and survey questionnaire. Women entrepreneurs in three GCC countries, namely Kingdom of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, were chosen for studying the phenomenon of women’s entrepreneurial involvement in business activities. A random sampling method was used. Hypotheses were developed and verified and the five challenges were found through rigorous statistical tests to significantly affect the involvement of women entrepreneurs in business activity in GCC countries. The challenges selected were part of a larger set of challenges, not all of which could be investigated due to paucity of time, resources and the large territory comprising three nations in the GCC region. In addition, an exploratory study using interviews was conducted to identify specific challenges that affect women entrepreneurs in the GCC countries. Three additional challenges, namely intellectual property; patronage and connections; and lengthy regulatory procedures were revealed through this. Mixed method research was used which led to triangulation of the results obtained from analysing data gathered through questionnaire survey and interview. The challenges that emerged from the analysis of the questionnaire survey and interviews resulted in the development of a new and comprehensive model that combined the challenges tested through the empirical model and those derived from interviews. The findings from the analysis indicated that much needs to be done to enable women entrepreneurs involved in business activities in the GCC region to succeed. Many challenges need to be tackled. The findings clearly point out that the challenges are responsible for the low percentage (around 2%) of business activities attributable to women-owned enterprises in the GCC countries. This research contributes to the growing body of knowledge in the area of women’s entrepreneurship in the specific context of the GCC region. The research outcomes clearly indicate that specific challenges can be tackled to improve the involvement of business activities of women entrepreneurs in the GCC region. Since the topic of involvement of women entrepreneurs in business activities in the context of GCC countries is not well investigated, the research outcomes of this research add to the current knowledge from a contextual point of view. In addition, the research has expanded the application of institutional theory to understand about the various challenges that affect involvement of women entrepreneurs in business activities in the context of GCC and contributed theoretically in terms of developing a new framework that could be used to examine how the challenges could be tackled. Methodologically, the research has shown how a mixed method research can be used to combine the outcome of survey research with interviews. Practical implications of the research outcomes show that the framework developed in this research could be adopted in practice by women entrepreneurs themselves, as well as various institutions and organizations that are concerned with women entrepreneurs, for improving the involvement of women entrepreneurs in business activities in the context of the GCC. Although the limitations of this research have been highlighted, how to overcome those limitations through future research has been explained. Thus, overall, this research effort is expected to stimulate further discussion and debate with regard to the involvement of women in business activities in the GCC and act as some kind of a basis for initiating steps to improve the position of women entrepreneurs involved in business activities in the GCC and perhaps in other regions surrounding the GCC countries.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University London
Appears in Collections:Business and Management
Brunel Business School Theses

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