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The use of social networking technologies for home-based online businesses: The case of Saudi Arabian female entrepreneurs

Over the years, many Saudi Arabian female entrepreneurs have adopted social networking technologies, also called social networking sites, to overcome certain cultural challenges and to manage their home-based online businesses. The effectiveness of adopting social networking technologies to produce business benefits is an area that has received significant attention. However, most of the previous studies focus on ‘what social networking technologies do’ rather than ‘what impact social networking technologies have’. The purpose of this study is to better understand how Saudi Arabian female entrepreneurs -- a group about which little is known -- use social networking technologies to derive benefits from their utilisation and to enhance their home-based online businesses. It employs a qualitative approach to explore the opportunities and challenges that they experience when they use these technologies to run their businesses. The research questions centre around the business benefits derived from the use of social networking technologies in a home-based context, the motivations that drove the adaptation of these platforms, and the most critical issues women face when using these platforms for business activities. Interviewees in this study describe how they negotiate between entrepreneurship and technology values, in light of their cultural roles. They discuss how the available technology enables their personal growth and allows them to create jobs for themselves and to enter the labour market without physically leaving their homes. The study reveals that the use of social networking technologies by Saudi female entrepreneurs achieves multiple objectives, including building their business brand, organising networks, and extending their customer base beyond family circles. The motivations of these female entrepreneurs are largely driven by personal desire, a need for professional growth and personal development, and a desire to serve their communities. The use of these technologies helps to create job opportunities and to achieve financial security, but the entrepreneurs also face a range of challenges. These include determining the most appropriate social networking technology to use for their specific business objectives, an initial lack of online marketing and management skills, and the need for additional resources to help them manage their online presence. In examining how social networking technologies are employed by Saudi female entrepreneurs, this study contributes to the extant literature on home-based entrepreneurship by focusing on a group about which minimal knowledge exists.
Type of thesis
Alshawaf, A. (2020). The use of social networking technologies for home-based online businesses: The case of Saudi Arabian female entrepreneurs (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13910
The University of Waikato
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