Chapter 4: Entrepreneurial orientation in small firms: a qualitative exploration in the context of an emerging economy
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With reference to Entrepreneurial Orientation (EO) theory, the chapter provides some data on firm behaviour in the Emirati context of Abu Dhabi where business structures differ from those in Western nations. There is also an influx of migrants from a myriad of nations, and an economic underpinning of oil revenue for the indigenous population. This leads to a unique context that this study explores. Applying a qualitative methodology, in-depth interviews were conducted with 27 business owners representing 24 firms. The chapter finds support for the idea that the autonomy of firms and their staff to ‘own’ business activities and developments is a critical component of entrepreneurship, particularly where it facilitates risk-taking. Without autonomy and risk-taking, the other components of entrepreneurial orientation such as proactivity and competitiveness cannot function well. Consequently, there are implications for those in Abu Dhabi who seek to encourage and support businesses, particularly as a long-term alternative to oil-based economic outputs.

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