The Institutional Environment, Entrepreneurial Orientation and Performance of Saudi Social Enterprises

Ghadah Alarifi

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

513 Downloads (Pure)


This research responds to calls for research on the relationship between social enterprises (SEs) and the environment (Bacq & Janssen, 2011), establishing linkage between entrepreneurial behaviour and the context (Welter, 2011; Zahra & Wright, 2011) and examining the effect of institutions on SE activities (Zahra, Newey, & Li, 2013). The thesis uses a new data set from a survey designed by the researcher and was conducted over the fourth quarter of 2016 at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. A key informant approach was followed. Two empirical sections are included in the thesis. The first empirical section examines the relationship between EO and SEs’ performance. Innovativeness and proactiveness but not risk-taking are positively associated with SE’s performance. Thus, whilst SEs cover a wide range of business activities, there is generally a positive effect of EO across the contexts investigated. Also, the researcher finds that EO can be used as a mechanism to overcome constraints imposed by limited resources in an environment where new opportunities rarely occur. The second empirical section investigates whether regulative, cognitive and normative institutional environment dimensions (Busenitz, Gomez and Spencer, 2000) support entrepreneurial orientation (EO) related to proactiveness, innovativeness and risk-taking (Covin & Slevin, 1989) in SEs. The models revealed no relationship between EO in SE and regulative institutional dimension, a negative relationship with cognitive institutional dimension and a positive relationship with normative institutional dimension. These findings highlight the dynamic conflict between institutionalization and EO, contributing to the EO literature by theorizing on its relationship to institutional dimensions and country-level environmental profile in the SE context. The findings of this thesis can be valuable not only for researchers but also for policy-makers working to improve the social entrepreneurial institutional environment in similar developing countries.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Robson, Paul, Supervisor
  • Kromidha, Endrit, Advisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date1 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Social Entrepreneurshipm
  • social enterprise
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Institutional Environment
  • Entrepreneurial Orientation
  • performance

Cite this