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The growth potential of Palestinian family businesses: immigrant versus home-country entrepreneurship

Suhail Sultan (Faculty of Business and Economics, Birzeit University, Birzeit, Palestine)
Wasim Sultan (Faculty of Graduate Studies, Arab American University, Ramallah, Palestine)
Monika Hudson (School of Management, University of San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA)
Naser Izhiman (College of Business and Economics, Birzeit University, Birzeit, Palestine)

Review of International Business and Strategy

ISSN: 2059-6014

Article publication date: 15 April 2024

Issue publication date: 20 May 2024




This project aims to examine how entrepreneurial orientation and succession planning among Palestinian family businesses positively affects their associated growth potential, considering the mediating role of innovation and the moderation effect of geographic location. Leveraging ethnic entrepreneurship theory, the authors compare these types of enterprises in the USA with their counterparts in Palestine.


This cross-sectional quantitative research analyzes data collected from October through December 2022. 180 Palestinian family-owned firms completed a survey; 90 companies were located in Palestine, while the other 90 were in the USA. Structural equation modeling analysis was conducted using Smart-PLS4. The interrelations of the conceptual framework were examined via path analysis and bootstrapping techniques.


The authors found a statistically significant positive effect of entrepreneurial orientation on Palestinian family business growth; the authors’ results concurrently indicated succession planning did not affect growth within the authors’ selected population. The authors also discovered innovation mediates the relationship between orientation and growth, and business location appears to moderate this relationship. The authors’ research indicates geography appears to favor Palestinian family-owned companies in the USA, where the authors found opportunity-driven immigrant entrepreneurs benefit from the structured business systems in a highly-developed country.


Given the current situation in Palestine, it is essential to understand the potential contribution that Palestinian family-owned businesses globally can make to reconstruct the country’s local economy. The next few years will be critical in figuring out how innovative thinking can boost the region’s recovery and increase Palestinian-based family companies’ ability to engage in sustainable entrepreneurship with reinvestment support from its diaspora. Therefore, it is important to have research that identifies factors that could improve these businesses’ continued performance and growth potential. This study also aids in further understanding the defining characteristics of Palestinian-owned family firms, enhancing general theories related to entrepreneurship among ethnic and diasporic groups.



Dr Suhail Sultan was a 2022/23 recipient of the US Fulbright Visiting Scholar Program, who conducted this research during his stay at the University of San Francisco and its Gellert Family Business Center.

Ethical compliance: All procedures involving human participants in this study followed the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


Sultan, S., Sultan, W., Hudson, M. and Izhiman, N. (2024), "The growth potential of Palestinian family businesses: immigrant versus home-country entrepreneurship", Review of International Business and Strategy, Vol. 34 No. 3, pp. 368-386.



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