Copyright © 2004 International Development Options
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Volume Three Winter 2003-Spring 2004 Numbers 3-4.
CULTURAL PERCEPTIONS OF SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC CHANGES WITHIN ENTREPRENEURIAL
BUSINESSES IN THE MENA REGION
Philippe W. Zgheib
Suliman S. Olayan School of Business
American University of Beirut
Bliss Street - Ras Beirut, Lebanon
Published online: February 10, 2017
This article presents a theoretical background for the economic functions of entrepreneurship, some features of small and medium sized firms with a special focus on the Arab region, and how they are manifested at the macroeconomic level in Lebanon and Arab countries. The article begins with an identification of cultural constraints to entrepreneurial activities across the Middle East from both a socio-cultural and politico-economic perspectives. The leading constraints have been the rigidity of public institutions and the overpowering patriarchal family oriented governance system. The region is then grouped into three areas of distinct entrepreneurial development based on entrepreneurial motivators. These factors set apart three main geopolitical areas of the region: (1) the Gulf area with nine countries, mostly affected by economic incentives; (2) the confrontation states of the Middle East with six countries, mostly affected by socio-psychological changes; and (3) North Africa with seven countries affected by both economic and socio-psychological factors. Finally, the article focuses on Lebanon, one of the most entrepreneurial countries in the Middle East. Perceptions of wealth are identified within Lebanon, using focus group surveys, as well as intensive interviews of representative business professionals.