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Contextual and cultural determinants of entrepreneurship in pre- and post-revolutionary Tunisia: Analysing the discourse of young potential and actual entrepreneurs

Mourad Touzani (Neoma Business School, Rouen, France)
Fahd Jlassi (Faculté des Sciences Économiques et de Gestion de Nabeul, Nabeul, Tunisia)
Adnan Maalaoui (ESG Management School Paris, Paris, France)
Rabi Bel Haj Hassine (Université de Paris 8, Paris, France)

Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development

ISSN: 1462-6004

Article publication date: 16 February 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the motivations and inhibitions linked to the entrepreneurial act in Tunisia, a country belonging to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The findings of such a study help to better understand why new graduates are reluctant to create their own firms in spite of the political efforts made by the government.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative approach is adopted. It is based on 38 semi-directive in-depth interviews conducted with new graduates in entrepreneurship, some of them being young entrepreneurs, and others who did not go through the entrepreneurial process. On the basis of the data collected, a thematic content analysis has been carried out.

Findings

A set of contextual and cultural factors has been highlighted by the analysis. When the context is characterised by poverty, mafia, corruption, or even by a popular revolution or a war in a neighbouring country, these factors may significantly affect new graduates’ decision to create their own firm. Besides, the entrepreneurial decision may be affected by cultural factors: the bureaucratic system, autocracy, and the existence of entrepreneurial milieus such as social class, region, and geographical regions.

Research limitations/implications

The inductive qualitative approach adopted in a research study affects the generalisable character of the results. This study is also geographically limited to the great Tunis area (the capital and its suburbs).

Originality/value

This study has been carried out in a context of an emergent country from the MENA region. This special setting leads to the valorisation of an understudied set of contextual and cultural motivations and inhibitors of entrepreneurship.

Keywords

Citation

Touzani, M., Jlassi, F., Maalaoui, A. and Bel Haj Hassine, R. (2015), "Contextual and cultural determinants of entrepreneurship in pre- and post-revolutionary Tunisia: Analysing the discourse of young potential and actual entrepreneurs", Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, Vol. 22 No. 1, pp. 160-179. https://doi.org/10.1108/JSBED-10-2011-0011

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited