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Marketing management and optimism of Afghan female entrepreneurs

Manizha Wafeq (Afghanistan Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Kabul, Afghanistan)
Omar Al Serhan (Faculty of Business, Higher Colleges of Technology, Abu Dhabi, UAE)
Kimberley Catherine Gleason (School of Business Administration, Department of Finance, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)
S.W.S.B. Dasanayaka (Department of Industrial Management, University of Moratuwa, Moratuwa, Sri Lanka)
Roudaina Houjeir (Faculty of Business, Higher Colleges of Technology, Abu Dhabi, UAE)
Mohamad Al Sakka (Faculty of Business, Higher Colleges of Technology, Abu Dhabi, UAE)

Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies

ISSN: 2053-4604

Article publication date: 16 July 2019

Issue publication date: 21 August 2019




For the present generation of entrepreneurs, the operating environment in Afghanistan has been among the most tenuous in the world. Numerous regime changes, civil unrest and war have created tremendous uncertainty, making civilian business planning difficult. These challenges incrementally impact female entrepreneurs. This paper aims to investigate the relationship between one aspect of entrepreneurial psychological capital – optimism regarding enterprise success of Afghan female entrepreneurs – and aspects of the marketing function.


Primary data collection was used for this study. A total of 248 women business owners were surveyed via telephone from five provinces of Afghanistan. Over half (133) of respondents were from the Afghan capital, Kabul. A total of 49 respondents were obtained from Herat, 44 from Mazar, 12 from Nangarhar and ten were obtained from Kandahar.


We find that a focus on marketing positively and significantly impacts reported optimism by female Afghan entrepreneurs, as do marketing planning efforts. However, self-reliance and orientation toward the outside world do not impact the perceived success of the entrepreneurial venture.

Research limitations/implications

Like other empirical studies, this research has its own limitation. First, we would have liked a larger sample size, but date collection in a war-torn country and from female business women in a male-dominated society is proofed very challenging task. Also, some cities had less representation due to security concerns especially Kandahar province.

Practical implications

Our results have significant relevance for economic development policymakers, non-governmental organizations and entrepreneurs throughout the developing world. What drives the psychological capital of these entrepreneurs under these extreme conditions should be of interest not only from the perspective of the entrepreneurship literature, but also for policymakers who are often uninformed regarding on the ground conditions under which individuals in the environment function.

Social implications

It is our hope that our results inform those in a position of power so that they support the development of human capital of Afghan women who are or who seek to be entrepreneurs. We also hope to raise questions for other researchers related to the importance of human capital investment and the business functions for entrepreneurs in other less developed, conflict-prone environments with low mean educational levels.


This paper is the first to use proprietary, hand collected survey data from Afghani female entrepreneurs to collect, analyze and draw conclusions and recommendations from a sample of 248 women-owned businesses regarding the relationship between the marketing function and one aspect of psychological capital – perceived optimism – in five Afghan cities.



Wafeq, M., Al Serhan, O., Catherine Gleason, K., Dasanayaka, S.W.S.B., Houjeir, R. and Al Sakka, M. (2019), "Marketing management and optimism of Afghan female entrepreneurs", Journal of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies, Vol. 11 No. 3, pp. 436-463.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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