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Entrepreneurial motives and their antecedents of men and women in North Africa and the Middle East

Bettina Lynda Bastian (Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon)
Mohammad Reza Zali (Faculty of Entrepreneurship, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 3 October 2016




This study aims to investigate how educational attainment and entrepreneurial competencies affect entrepreneurial motives of women (vs men) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). This study shows that education has a more positive effect on women’s entrepreneurial motives compared with men. On the other hand, there is a greater positive effect of competencies on men’s motives. Moreover, the moderating effects of culture are compared. The results of the multiple regression analysis show that, within the MENA region, the cultural value of self-expressionism engenders increased opportunity-motivated entrepreneurship by men. Yet, it has no significant effect on women’s entrepreneurial motives.


This study analyses survey data using multiple regression analysis, relationship between independent variables, educational attainment and entrepreneurial competencies, as well as culture, and the dependent variable, entrepreneurial motivation. The present study focuses on data records concerning 13 MENA countries, notably, Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. The sample includes early-stage and established female entrepreneurs, a total of 1,551 respondents, for all countries for the entire period.


Entrepreneurs with higher levels of education and competencies are more likely to exploit market opportunities. However, effects from educational attainments and competencies are significantly stronger for men. Moreover, the increasing introduction of liberal or post-modern values in MENA societies has significant effects on men but no effect on women, suggesting that men tend to benefit much more than women in the Arab world with regards to their entrepreneurial behaviour.


The study is one of the few attempts to clarify the relationship between individual factors, here represented by education and competencies, and environmental factors, here represented by culture (post-modern values) and entrepreneurial motivation. Moreover, it addresses the MENA region, which is a politically and economically important and challenging environment, and which, to date, has received relatively little attention in entrepreneurship research.



Bastian, B.L. and Zali, M.R. (2016), "Entrepreneurial motives and their antecedents of men and women in North Africa and the Middle East", Gender in Management, Vol. 31 No. 7, pp. 456-478.



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