Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management

Major Professor

Youn-Kyung Kim

Committee Members

Ann E. Fairhurst, Jeremy Eugene Whaley, Stefani Benjamin, Alex Miller


Despite the growing trend in the literature on comparing male and female entrepreneurs with respect to barriers, motivations, management styles, and perceptions of the qualities required for leadership in the literature review on women entrepreneurs, little effort has been made to address the association between entrepreneurship experience and empowerment in the literature on women entrepreneurs. Furthermore, no study has addressed the relation between entrepreneurship and empowerment contextualized within the experience of Saudi women entrepreneurs. The dissertation contributed to filling these voids in the literature. Drawing upon from psychological empowerment theory, the study endeavored to find which factors assist Saudi women entrepreneurs to run their businesses successfully, which leads them to be empowered. Further, the social support concept was used to investigate the influence of perceived social support on women entrepreneurs’ lives. The objectives of the study are to explore Saudi women's experiences as entrepreneurs at festivals for women and the opportunities female entrepreneurs receive from participating at festivals. Also, to examine how entrepreneurship experience affects Saudi women’s empowerment and determine how perceived social supports have an impact on entrepreneurs’ lives as well. The study included both a qualitative method approach (individual in-depth interviews, n = 8)) and quantitative approaches (survey research, n = 196)). The findings of the study confirmed that entrepreneurship experience affects women’s empowerment; two factors that influence Saudi women entrepreneurs’ psychological empowerment are self-confidence and prior knowledge. The study’s findings provide insightful contributions to the women entrepreneur’s literature and practical implications for Saudi government programs and nonprofit organizations in advocating the role of Saudi women in society.

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