Title: Promoting innovation in the MENA region: the role of social norms and individual factors in entrepreneurial networks

Authors: Mohammad Reza Zali; Bettina Lynda Bastian; Shahid Qureshi

Addresses: Faculty of Entrepreneurship, University of Tehran, P.O. Box 14395-796, 16th Street, North Karghar Avenue, Tehran, Iran ' Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut, P.O. Box 11-0236, Riad El Solh 1107 2020, Beirut, Lebanon ' Center for Entrepreneurship, IBA, University Road, Karachi-75270, Pakistan

Abstract: Research has shown that innovation, as a form of entrepreneurship, leverages social networks and enable entrepreneurs to access external resources and knowledge. This paper investigates the effect of entrepreneurs' networks on innovation outcomes within the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The paper analyses the role of cultural contingencies, notably social norms on innovation. In addition to culture, a comprehensive model is posited that integrates cognitive and motivational aspects and examines their role on the relationship of networks and innovation. The proposed model is tested using SEM. The results confirm the relevance of networks for innovation outcomes in the MENA region. The entrepreneurs in the MENA region mainly rely on private networks, which have no relevance for innovation, unlike professional and international networks. Moreover, cultural environment has a negative effect on innovation outcomes. It is observed that network relations enhance motivation positively and motivation in turn impacts innovation in a positive manner.

Keywords: innovation; MENA region; social norms; individual competencies; entrepreneurial networks; motivation; entrepreneurial competency; social norms; entrepreneurs; entrepreneurship; Middle East; North Africa; structural equation modelling; SEM; private networking; cultural environment; culture; network relations.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBG.2013.056877

International Journal of Business and Globalisation, 2013 Vol.11 No.4, pp.413 - 426

Published online: 17 Sep 2013 *

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