• An analysis of the narratives of Omani women entrepreneurs

      Al-Moosa, Hadil (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2018-03)
      This is a study of 29 Omani women entrepreneurs’ narratives in Oman. Entrepreneurship has been officially sanctioned as an activity since January 2013 in Oman; thus the concept of being an entrepreneur is still is very new. Based on my experience, I realised the way Omani women understand and practise entrepreneurship is quite different to the Western understanding of the concept. Indeed, more critical entrepreneurship research has recognised that the Western literature of entrepreneurship is inadequate to represent the experience of non-Western women entrepreneurs; and this research calls for more culturally relevant studies. Therefore, this study takes a social constructionist narrative approach to exploring first, to explore how the concept of entrepreneurship is understood by these women; and second, to explore their practices and their understanding of the perceived contextual influences that shape their doings of entrepreneur-ing. Interviews with 29 women were carried out and analysed using narrative approach and the results supported the view that Western literature is inadequate to represent the experience of Omani women entrepreneurs. Key findings were that understandings of the concept of entrepreneurship are rather confused and contradictory; which reinforces the idea of newness. However, the newness seems to be in the term, but not the activity. Thus, entrepreneurship is perceived as equivalent to traditional home-business, which reinforces gender stereotypes; and although entrepreneurship is perceived as gender-neutral, it is not so in practice. Also, the perceived key contextual influences that are identified are: first, tribalism, which seems to overshadow gender and qualification; second, government interventions, which have shaped how entrepreneurship is practised; third, family, which evolves around the male relatives’ involvement in women’s entrepreneurship; and finally, religion/culture, which are embodied mainly in terms of fate and appearance (attire). The conclusions are: the areas that are identified in this study are mostly new insights and have not been recognised in the current mainstream Western literature, such as tribalism. Some areas contradict the Western studies, such as the notion of fatalism; while some areas are recognised in the current mainstream literature, such as family – but the way in which it plays out in Omani women entrepreneurs’ experience differs from the Western women’s entrepreneurship in the mainstream literature.