SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Alharthi, Ghadah (2019) Social entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia : social entrepreneurs’ perception and social capital. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

[img] Text - Submitted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only


The purpose of this thesis is to extend the understanding of social entrepreneurs’ perceptions of the institutional environment, and their behaviour when they try to adapt to a context where social entrepreneurship is non-institutionalised. Theoretically, the thesis draws on institutional and cognitive perspectives to develop a conceptual framework in order to answer the research questions. The thesis uses primary data from interviews and secondary documents collected by the researcher. Data collection was conducted in two rounds between 2014 and 2016 in Saudi Arabia. The empirical findings are divided into three main parts. The first part explores the influences of individual factors (human capital and psychological capital) and institutional factors (religion- Islam) on social entrepreneurs’ perceptions. The findings explained how social entrepreneurs rely on these factors to build internal and external expectations. The second part investigates social entrepreneurs’ perception regarding the regulative, cognitive and normative institutional environment dimensions. The findings show that Saudi social entrepreneurs perceive their institutional environment to be unfavourable towards social entrepreneurship. The third part looks at their behaviour in terms of their collaboration with their social ties to adapt to the institutional environment. The findings identified the roles of other actors in the field (government, intermediaries, local foundations, global non-profits, private sector). These further emphasise the importance of the social entrepreneurs’ social capital in a noninstitutionalised context such as Saudi Arabia. The findings of this thesis can be valuable not only for researchers but also for policymakers and practitioners working to improve the social entrepreneurial institutional environment in similar countries.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Huan Zou
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2020 11:17

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item