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Planning for entrepreneurialism in a rentier state economy: Entrepreneurship education for economic diversification in Oman

Al Shabibi, Issa 2020. Planning for entrepreneurialism in a rentier state economy: Entrepreneurship education for economic diversification in Oman. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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There is a growing interest in entrepreneurialism as a way to develop and diversify economies around the world. Entrepreneurship Education (EE) is believed by some governments to have the potential to develop entrepreneurial skills and knowledge and change students’ mindsets and attitudes regarding SME start-ups, as one way to create a more entrepreneurial economy. This thesis investigated the potential of a higher education entrepreneurship education programme to expand the number of entrepreneurs in Oman, as one element of the government’s skill formation strategy, and thereby contribute to economic diversification. A mixed method approach was adopted, comprising a small-scale survey and semi-structured interviews, to generate data on stakeholder understandings of entrepreneurialism and their perceptions of the programme. The thesis reveals that understandings of entrepreneurialism and the development of entrepreneurial attitudes are influenced by a wide range of political, economic, social, and cultural factors, which in Oman’s rentier state context have particular implications for the way the Entrepreneurship Education Programme (EEP) is implemented and then received by its users. Ultimately, the programme, in its current form, appears to influence the way in which the students in this study understand entrepreneurship, but seems unlikely to deliver the entrepreneurial skills and mindset changes needed to grow the number of students intending to engage in entrepreneurial activity following graduation. The findings draw attention to the limitations of education and skill policies based on Human Capital Theory (HCT) and guided by ‘supply side’ imperatives. Instead, the thesis emphasises the importance of considering contextual specificities when designing and implementing national educational policies. It encourages, moreover, further research to improve policy and practice with regard to the implementation of entrepreneurship education programmes. The current policy focus needs to be extended to consider the wider economic and societal context for diversifying the economy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Date Type: Completion
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > L Education (General)
Funders: Oman Research Council
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 20 August 2020
Last Modified: 25 May 2021 01:23

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