Entrepreneurialism in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in UAE and its Implications for State and HEIs

  • Alimohommed Bhayani

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Business (DBA)


The field of higher education has attracted less action with regard to Gulf countries in general and the UAE in particular with remarkably little empirical data available on the topic. This study explores entrepreneurialism in UAE universities. It examines the attributes of entrepreneurial universities in the UAE context. First, the different meanings and interpretations of entrepreneurial universities are examined, alongside the explanations of drivers of entrepreneurial behaviour in universities. A list of thirty key attributes spanning over six key areas is drawn from literature. Using a qualitative approach the study tries to understand the perceptions of higher education practitioners about their understanding of entrepreneurialism and its relevance in the UAE context, and then empirically assess the level of entrepreneurialism in each of the institutions. In-depth, qualitative and multiple case studies are used to assess the level of entrepreneurialism using survey and semi-structured interviews covering respondents from branch campuses, public and private universities. Most of the entrepreneurial attributes were found to be relevant in UAE context, but the level of entrepreneurialism is low. UAE universities possess some inherent qualities necessary for entrepreneurialism like steerage, concern for economic surplus and performance driven environment that allows quick response to the dynamic external environment and capitalise on opportunities. However, there are some areas that require further development like devolvement, culture of innovation, incentive to take risks and support from the State. The study concludes with broad recommendations at both the system and institutional level to make universities more entrepreneurial. Areas of further research are identified and finally there is a summary of the author’s personal and professional development during the DBA course.
Date of Award31 Dec 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorJeroen Huisman (Supervisor) & John Davies (Supervisor)


  • higher education
  • entrepreneurialism
  • uae

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