Cultural Constraints on Entrepreneurship in Northern Cyprus: Male/Female Segregation and Its Impact on Business Sector Choice in Enterprise Development

Karen Howells

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    960 Downloads (Pure)


    The objective of this thesis is to understand the effect of social gender segregation and other gender issues on entrepreneurship in North Cyprus, particularly their role in the selection of business sector by entrepreneurs. Cultural and social norms play an important part in the nascent entrepreneur's initial analysis of deciding on which business sector and business type they would like to create. North Cyprus has a unique patriarchal culture where social gender segregation is still a part of modern life, yet outwardly the culture appears to be like any other European nation. The objective of the research is to analyse the depth of social gender segregation and its influence on entrepreneurs and their choice of business sector. The research methodology is split into two parts; a quantitative analysis and a qualitative analysis. The aim of the quantitative analysis is to discover the realities of entrepreneurship within North Cyprus. A survey instrument, a questionnaire, has been administered to one thousand entrepreneurs, using the block sampling methodology and the drop and collect technique. The qualitative analysis includes thirty in-depth interviews with both male and female entrepreneurs, to find out their specific problems in their difficult economic climate, their motivations, the extent of their entrepreneurial exposure, and their previous experience of entrepreneurship. The results of the data analysis showed that the percentage of female entrepreneurs in the region was higher than documented by government statistics, with one third of the sample comprising female entrepreneurs. While many similarities were found between the male entrepreneurs and the female entrepreneurs, there were stark differences in the way they prefer to organize their enterprises, with women preferring family members as business partners, while men preferred partnerships with business associates. In terms of the entrepreneurs perception of the factors that inhibit their entrepreneurship, men were concerned about lack of finance, while women worried about their lack of business experience. In an Islamic context, it is interesting to note that Turkish Cypriots, both male and female, exhibit different locus of control to the entrepreneurs of Western based literature, as they have external locus of control. Another important factor was motivation, and Turkish Cypriots have been pulled into entrepreneurship, despite the insurmountable difficulties with the economy, living in a non-recognised country, with high levels of unemployment. Another anomaly was the Turkish Cypriots high levels of entrepreneurial exposure. In disparity with the preconceived ideas of the patriarchal culture, both qualitative and quantitative data revealed the respondents to have liberal views on the participation of women in the workforce, including entrepreneurship.An exploratory factor analysis revealed attitudes to risk to be a major factor in the Turkish Cypriot entrepreneur's perception of entrepreneurship, followed by gender attitudes in the region, and entrepreneurial exposure.The results of the research study will be relevant to all organisations who are interested in how gender and social issues affect entrepreneurship in a developing nation, especially one where patriarchal values are very strong. To date there have been no studies of entrepreneurship in North Cyprus. By researching male and female entrepreneurship in North Cyprus, the research will, for the first time, give information about the types and variety of entrepreneurship in North Cyprus, and some insight into the motivation for this entrepreneurship. In addition, the second part of the methodology will give an in-depth view on the diversity and depth of problems experienced by female entrepreneurs in a heavily patriarchal society. This research will consequently make a significant contribution to the understanding of female entrepreneurship in Islamic nations.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Business Administration
    Awarding Institution
    • Charles Sturt University
    • Krivokapic-Skoko, Branka, Principal Supervisor
    • O'Neill, Grant, Co-Supervisor
    Award date01 Feb 2015
    Place of PublicationAustralia
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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