Autonomy, locus of control, and entrepreneurial orientation of Lebanese expatriates worldwide.
Lebanon is one rare representative democracy within the Middle East. This small 4,000-square-mile coastal mountain stretch along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean has accommodated a population varying between 3 and 4 million inhabitants over the last century. At the onset of the 20th century Lebanon's population consisted of a slight Christian majority. A century and many wars later, Islam accounts for more than half of the population. However, the cultural mix of this diverse population appears to be uniform over geography and steady in time. Foreign influence in domestic institutions is intricate and intense. Almost every world power has a stake in Lebanese affairs, through socio-cultural and educational diffusion. Official language in the country is Arabic. However, English and French are main vectors of education. Other commonly used languages include Armenian, Syriac, Kurdish, in addition to main European languages such as Spanish and Italian. Most prominent religious confessional institutions include the Maronite Catholics, the Orthodox, and Armenian Christians, while the main Islamic communities include the Sunni, Shia, and Druze, in addition to a dozen other minority communities of all religious faiths. Yet the diversity of Lebanon's culture seems to have no or little effect on the pioneering spirit of Lebanese migrants worldwide. World wars as well as domestic feuds have fuelled a steady stream of migration worldwide, so that there are many times more Lebanese natives outside Lebanon than in their own homeland. Early destinations include North America, and Europe. More recent destinations include Australia, South America, Africa, and the Arabian Gulf.
Since 1975, start of the two-decade long Lebanese domestic wars, conflict among communities and economic deterioration have mainly caused a relentless movement of emigration. Many chose to leave Lebanon in order to secure a better future for their children. Political oppression and terror were spreading throughout many parts of the country. This has driven certain sections of the population, mainly white-collar workers and intellectuals, into exile. The most important phenomenon that has affected the Lebanese population has been the forced collective exodus of hundreds of thousands of people from their villages and towns. Houses, properties, schools, factories, shops and offices have all been destroyed, looted or occupied. Civilians lost their resources and became homeless without health, social, housing, and educational services (Salam, 1998). Awaiting better times to rebuild their own torn homeland, their contributions in host countries establish a unique path of integration into nation building (Montgomery, 2004). This investigation sheds light on lessons to be learned from the Lebanese diaspora experience within worldwide entrepreneurial context in terms of locus of control, individualism and integration in host societies.
Emigration Towards a Worldwide Lebanese Presence
Emigration has been a significant feature of Lebanese life since the second half of the 19th century. The specific interaction and historical sequence of several factors, whether social, economic, political, or religious, make Lebanon one of the world's most emigration-prone countries. The result of this phenomenon has been the growth of a large Lebanese presence worldwide whose numbers have come to exceed that of the population of the home country
(Hourani and Shehadi, 1992).
According to Sayigh (1962), Lebanon has never lacked entrepreneurs. The Lebanese throughout their long history have made their living by buying and selling, exchanging monies, exporting and importing, and serving as middlemen at all stages from the first production to the final disposition of products. Their activities have carried them throughout the Middle East, around the Mediterranean, down the east and west coasts of Africa, across Asia and, in latter times, to Sao Paulo and Detroit. In Europe, selective immigration policies have provided favorable avenues for Lebanese settlers away from the internal wars of their homeland (Constant and Zimmerman, 2005). In remote areas of Africa, Lebanese traders in Cotonou simultaneously coordinate and regulate different roles, from socio-cultural mobility to economic capital accumulation (Beuving, 2006)
Lebanese tend to invest in businesses large and small, with their own or their relatives' capital, and exhibit a high level of shrewdness and ingenuity for success as they work for becoming distinguishable from the natives of their host countries. Sayigh (1962) describes the Lebanese entrepreneur as "a die-hard individualist." It is this individualism that leads him toward economic sectors and activities such as trade and services where individual operation or operation in small partnerships is most prevalent
Hourani and Shehadi (1992) explain that at the same time as processes inside Lebanon encouraged the young to emigrate, the economic and social developments of the countries of North and South America and Australasia were a force of attraction. These regions were in a process of rapid economic growth, and this growth created needs that they could not fill from their existing resources.
According to Hourani and Shehadi (1992), four main phases of the emigration may be distinguished in Lebanon. The first stretches roughly from the 17th century to the middle of the nineteenth when limited numbers of Syrians and Lebanese went to Egypt and Europe. In the second, covering the second half of the 19th century and the first years of the 20th century, there was a more or less unlimited emigration to the countries of North and South America, although the Ottoman government tried to impose restrictions because of the loss of potential recruits for the army. In the late 1800s, emigration to both Brazil and the United states was occurring in large numbers. Although accurate numbers for this entire period does not exist, there are estimates that from 1890 to 1914, over 60,000 immigrated to Brazil. During that same period, over 86,000 immigrated to the United States. In the third period, beginning after the First World War, the doors of the United States and other countries were closed and new doors were opened, such as those of the West African colonies (Rath, 2006). A fourth period, began with the growth of the economies of the Gulf countries in the 1960s and the outbreak of the Lebanese civil war in 1975. Some of the Lebanese who had families in the United States were able to go there; others went to Canada, Australia, Latin America, and Western Europe. On the other hand, a considerable number were able to go to Saudi Arabia and other countries of the Gulf where the rapidly growing societies needed skills of every kind, from those of craftsmen to those of teachers, officials, doctors, and large-scale contractors.
In each of these periods the emigration had a special character. Those who went into Egypt or Europe during the first phase were mainly Christian from cities like Beirut. Those who went to America in the second period were mainly young men from the Christian villages of the Lebanese mountains. Many of them were of humble origins and had limited education. In the third period, a large proportion of those who went to West Africa came from the Shi'i villages of southern Lebanon. This movement was a result of the growth of population and of the integration of southern Lebanon into the administrative and economic system of Lebanon, which created new possibilities of movement and an awareness to new horizons. In the most recent period, a large proportion of the emigrants have been those with education or a useful technical training from all communities (Hourani and Shehadi 1992). They have participated actively in pioneering businesses, as well as in educational and cultural ventures of social entrepreneurship (El Mallakh, 2007).
Entrepreneurship is an integral component of Lebanese culture. Adversities, both natural and man-made, have fuelled a spirit of pioneering throughout history. Commerce and trade, both domestic and international, have originally supported business pioneering. More recently, Lebanese entrepreneurship is evident across all fields of business inside and outside Lebanon.
Entrepreneurship is a well-known and well-studied phenomenon today. Since the introduction of the term entreprendre in French in the Middle Ages, when it was translated as "between-taker" or "go between," entrepreneurship has received continuous and enormous attention in both scholarly and policy circles (Hisrich, 1990). Entrepreneurship has long been considered a significant factor for socioeconomic growth and development because it provides millions of job opportunities, offers a variety of consumer goods and services (Baron and Markman, 2000), and generally increases national prosperity and competitiveness. Moreover, entrepreneurs can be found in all professions, including education, medicine, research, law, architecture, engineering, and social work (Zahra, 1999).
Personality has been defined by Guilford (1959: 383-384) as "the interactive aggregate of personal characteristics that influence the individual's response to the environment." Barnouw (1985: 427) defines personality as "a more or less enduring organization of forces within the individual associated with a complex of fairly consistent attitudes, values, and modes of perception which account, in part, for the individual's consistency of behavior."
There has been considerable attention given to the traits and characteristics that make a person act entrepreneurially. Many attribute entrepreneurship to the specific internal psychological traits that differentiate entrepreneurs from non-entrepreneurs (Brockhaus and Horwitz, 1986). Diverse success-related factors have been encountered throughout our literature review; however, this research centres on the ones for which empirical evidence, from a wide body of literature (Grove, 2005), with links to entrepreneurial success were found to be strongest. Personality traits most frequently cited as being factors related to entrepreneurial success are entrepreneurial orientation (Lumpkin and Dess, 1996) and locus of control (Rotter 1966).
According to Lumpkin and Dess (1996), the term "Entrepreneurial Orientation" (EO) has been used to refer to the strategy making processes and styles of firms that engage in entrepreneurial activities. EO consists of processes, practices, structures, and/or behaviours and decision making styles that can be described as aggressive, innovative, proactive, risk taking, and autonomy seeking. Specifically, those firms that act independently (autonomy), encourage experimentation (innovation), take risks, take initiative (pro-activeness), and aggressively compete within their markets have a strong EO, whereas those lacking some or all of these have a weaker EO (Lee and Peterson, 2000).
Locus of Control
Locus of control refers to the perceived control over the events of one's life. People with an internal locus of control believe that they are able to control what happens in their lives. On the other hand, people with an external locus of control tend to believe that most of the events in their lives result from being lucky, being in the right place at the right time, and the behaviours of powerful individuals. People's beliefs in personal control over their lives influence their perception of important events, their attitude towards life, and their work behaviours (Rotter, 1966).
Moreover, internal locus of control has been one of the most studied psychological traits in entrepreneurship research (Coviello, 2003). An association between entrepreneurial behaviour and an internal locus of control orientation has strong face validity. Entrepreneurs by most definitions are initiators, taking responsibility for their own welfare and not dependent on others (McClelland, 1961). Furthermore, if one does not believe that the outcome of a business venture will be influenced by personal effort, then that individual is unlikely to risk exposure to the high penalties of failure. Since perception of both risk and ability to affect outcomes are crucial to the new venture formation decision, it follows that potential entrepreneurs are more likely to have an internal locus of control origination rather than an external one (Brockhaus and Horowitz, 1986).
Cultural Factors and Entrepreneurial Success
Hofstede (1980: 298)) refers to culture as "the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one human group from another." He added that culture could be defined as the interactive aggregate of common characteristics that influence a human group's response to its environment. Culture determines the identity of a human group in the same way as personality determines the identity of an individual (Hofstede, 1980). Barnouw (1985: 212) defines culture as "the way of life of a group of people, the complex of shared concepts and patterns of learned behavior that is handed down from one generation to the next through the means of language and imitation."
The culture of a society provides a number of ready-made answers to the problems of life.
Hofstede's Cultural Dimensions
From 1967 to 1973, working initially within the international company IBM, Geert Hofstede (1980) conducted a multinational, 66-country survey of work-related value orientations of the 117,000 employees of IBM. Factor analysis of the mean scores for 40 countries enabled Hofstede (1980) to map the countries along four dimensions: power distance, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity-femininity, and individualism-collectivism. These dimensions define a specific set of values that describe some aspect of culture and human activities. Although Hofstede did not specify the relationship between culture and entrepreneurial activity per se, his cultural dimensions were found useful in identifying the key elements of culture related to entrepreneurial behaviour and success given that they have been employed extensively in entrepreneurship research (Mueller and Thomas, 2000).
The selection of these two cultural dimensions was because direct linkage is demonstrated between them and the entrepreneurial orientation factors (Lee and Peterson, 2000). Moreover, Russell (1999) has found that among all of Hofstede's dimensions, the ones most directly associated with Western ideals of entrepreneurship were individualism and uncertainty avoidance.
Uncertainty avoidance focuses on planning and control as a way of dealing with life's uncertainties. It focuses on maintaining stability and certainty in everyday life while opposing uncertainty and ambiguity. Hofstede (1980) also found that in high uncertainty avoidance societies, there is a greater fear of failure, a lower willingness to take risks, lower levels of ambition, and lower tolerance for ambiguity. Innovation has long been associated with entrepreneurial behaviour and even regarded by some as a defining element of the entrepreneurial role. Moreover, entrepreneurs involved in developing innovations require a high tolerance for ambiguity and a willingness to take risks. The combination of risk avoidance, low tolerance for ambiguity and resistance to change that characterize high uncertainty avoidance regions is likely to reduce the number of individuals who step forward to initiate entrepreneurial ventures (Russell, 1999).
Since low uncertainty avoidance cultures are more accepting of non-traditional behaviours, it follows that entrepreneurs in these contexts enjoy greater freedom and legitimacy than their counterparts in high uncertainty avoidance cultures where the "deviance" of entrepreneurs would be viewed with suspicion (House et al., 2004).
Individualism pertains to societies in which the ties between the individuals are loose. In individualistic nations everyone is expected to look after himself of herself and his or her immediate family. Collectivism as its opposite pertains to societies in which people from birth onwards are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, which throughout people's lifetime continue to protect them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty (Hofstede, 1991). In highly individualistic countries (e.g. United States, United Kingdom, Australia), individual freedom of action and independence are highly valued. Therefore, entrepreneurs who exhibit high levels of self-confidence, self-reliance, and boldness are admired and encouraged (Mueller and Thomas, 2000).
The main attempt in this research is to identify success attributes of overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs who are operating worldwide. We first study the effect of psychological factors, namely, entrepreneurial orientation and locus of control, and their presence and interaction within the Lebanese entrepreneur's personality. At a later stage, we attempt to study the cultural influence of the host country on the Lebanese entrepreneur's personality through focusing on Hofstede's cultural dimensions of uncertainty avoidance and individualism-collectivism.
Pro-activeness and Internal Locus of Control
Research indicates that when individuals believe that they can make a difference in their lives by performing certain actions, they may be more willing to think about the future and act proactively (Ward 1993). This has led to a hypothesis regarding pro-activeness and locus of control.
Hypothesis 1: Pro-activeness is a significant predictor of internal locus of control orientation among overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs.
Risk Taking and Internal Locus of Control
Research has shown that individuals with an internal locus of control direction tend to estimate probability of failure as lower and decide in favor of risky options (Ward, 1993). Such finding has guided us towards the development of the following hypothesis.
Hypothesis 2: High internal locus of control is significantly predicted by the level of risk taking among overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs.
Innovation and Internal Locus of Control
Research suggests a relationship between innovation and internal locus of control (Ward, 1993). Individuals feel that being innovative is a way of exerting control over the environment and, as a result, the following hypothesis was developed.
Hypothesis 3: Innovative behaviour is a significant predictor of internal locus of control orientation in overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs.
Autonomy and Internal Locus of Control
From the previous literature review, autonomy has been described as "the independence spirit that drives entrepreneurship." Therefore, in the following hypothesis, we suggest a relationship between the level of autonomy and the degree which individuals perceive themselves as being in control of their lives.
Hypothesis 4: Autonomy is a significant predictor of internal locus of control orientation in overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs.
Competitive Aggressiveness and Internal Locus of Control
We suggest that competitive aggressiveness is associated with considering oneself as being in control of his own actions. Therefore, we propose an association between being a competitively aggressive individual and having an internal locus of control orientation.
Hypothesis 5: Competitive aggressiveness is a significant predictor of internal locus of control orientation in overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs.
Degree of Individualism in a Country and the Level of Autonomy in Overseas Lebanese Entrepreneurs
According to Hofstede (1980), individualistic cultures prize individual initiative and autonomy. As a consequence, independent entrepreneurial behaviour is valued and supported by social norms as a means of achieving personal goals. In contrast, collectivist cultures tend to discourage individual initiative and rely upon the group for action taking. Hofstede's work has led me to suggest a connection between the cultural environment (individualistic vs. collectivist) that the overseas Lebanese is operating in and his level of autonomy.
Hypothesis 6: Lebanese entrepreneurs operating in highly individualistic countries [USA, Canada, Australia (Hofstede, 1980)] demonstrate higher levels of individualism than those operating in collectivist countries [West Africa, France, the Arab region (Hofstede, 1980)].
Low Uncertainty Avoidance and Risk Taking in Overseas Lebanese Entrepreneurs
As mentioned earlier, Hofstede (1980) has found that in high uncertainty avoidance societies, there is a greater fear of failure, a lower willingness to take risks, and lower tolerance for ambiguity. On the other hand, in low uncertainty avoidance cultures, there is more acceptance of non-traditional behaviour and entrepreneurs enjoy greater freedom to take risk (Raimann, Linemann and Chase, 2008). For that reason, we suggest a link between the level of uncertainty avoidance in a country and the intensity of risk taking among overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs.
Hypothesis 7: Lebanese entrepreneurs operating in high uncertainty avoidance countries [West Africa, France, the Arab Region (Hofstede, 1980)] demonstrate lower levels of risk taking than those operating in low uncertainty avoidance countries [USA, Canada, Australia (Hofstede, 1980)].
The questionnaire included 104 Likert-like scale questions that purport to cover the factors related to entrepreneurial success. The responses were coded in such a way that higher scores reflected higher levels of the measured variable. The questionnaire was part of a study that attempted to identify the factors leading to the success of overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs and, therefore, only individuals that belonged to that category were considered as being qualified for answering.
Demographic profile of respondents. Social identity question, responded to on a seven-point Likert-type scale. The social identity question was based on a measure of identification devised by Brown et al. (1992). Using the identity scale was thought to enhance the possibility of identifying the respondents' degree of individualism vs. collectivism. Personal values questions, responded to on a seven-point Likert-type scale. The personal values questions were adapted from Harb (2002) who investigated differences in personal values across different cultures. Entrepreneurial orientation questions responded to on a five-point Likert-type scale. Autonomy (Adapted from Parnell and Shwiff, 2003), innovation (Adapted from Lumpkin and Dess, 2001); risk taking (Adapted from Brockhaus, 1980); pro-activeness (Adapted from Lumpkin and Dess, 2001); competitive aggressiveness (Adapted from Lumpkin and Dess, 2001); Locus of control questions, on a five-point Likert-type scale. Locus of control was measured using items from Rotter's locus of control scale (Rotter, 1966)--one of the most frequently used scales in this area.
Convenience sampling was chosen as the sampling technique for this study. Convenience sampling is a non-probability sampling technique in which the individuals included are chosen without regard to their probability of occurrence (Levine, Berenson, and Stephan, 1999). However, the fact that the responses that were gathered came from countries that are spread around the globe (USA, Canada, Australia, France, West Africa and the Arabian Gulf) was believed to provide enough indication on the population. A survey using mailed questionnaires was conducted over a period of 49 days, which included the process of questionnaire distribution and collection. Mail and email addresses were obtained directly form the overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs or through their friends and relatives.
Of the 309 overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs that were contacted, 269 replied (an 87% response rate). Five questionnaires were excluded due to incomplete answers. Therefore, we ended with a sample size of 264 respondents.
Data Analysis and Interpretation
The sample size consisted of 264 individuals: 222 males and 42 females. That is, 84.1% of the overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs that were included were males and 15.9% were females, ranging in age from 24 to 55, with almost half (48.5%) of the respondents belonging to the youthful 24-35 range. Also, 34.8% were between the age of 36 and 45 and 16.7% were between 46 and 55. Among the respondents, 24.2% operated in the USA, while 17.8% operated in Canada, 12.1% in Australia, 14% in France, 11% in West Africa, and 20.8% held their businesses in the Gulf region. Moreover, a wide range of educational backgrounds, from technical degrees to PhDs, characterized my sample. In all, 68.2% held a BA/BS degree, while 12.1% held an MA/MS/MBA degree, and 6.8% were either MDs or PhDs. Finally, 12.9% had a high school and technical background.
Cronbach's alpha reliability coefficients were calculated for each of the various entrepreneurial orientation subscales and for the locus of control scales to insure the integrity of these scales in the study. Alpha (Cronbach) is a model of internal consistency based on the average inter-item correlation. This coefficient varies from 0 to 1, and scholars usually prefer alphas at the 0.60 or 0.70 level as an indication of satisfactory internal consistency and reliability (Cronbach, 1951).
Table 1 shows the Cronbach Alpha coefficients for the entrepreneurial orientation (EO) dimensions and locus of control. Coefficient alphas ranged between a single low of .452 to a high of .882, suggesting varying degrees of internal consistency. Reliability coefficients for the EO dimensions are very good, ranging from .754 to a high of .882. Reliability coefficients for locus of control were not as good in indicating reliability. This decline in alpha may be attributed to the fact that the respondents were operating in several different cultures that had a mixed influence on them and that has resulted in a mixed interpretation of the questions.
Results and Business Implications
Table 2 presents means, standard deviations and correlations among EO variables and locus of control variables. As shown in Table 2, the high mean values for innovation, proactiveness, risk taking, competitive aggressiveness, autonomy, and internal locus of control illustrate the high occurrence of an entrepreneurial orientation and an internal locus of control inclination in the sample. From Table 2, strong positive association between all the EO variables (innovation, pro-activeness, risk taking, aggressiveness, and autonomy) could be observed. In other words, entrepreneurial orientation is an abundant characteristic among the Lebanese entrepreneurs who were found to be high risk takers and, at the same time, innovative, competitively aggressive, independent, and proactive due to significant positive correlation between these variables.
Table 3 presents single linear regressions that were performed on the separate entrepreneurial orientation variables with internal locus of control for the purpose of tentatively testing the individual interaction of each EO variable alone with internal locus of control among overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs. Each of the five entrepreneurial orientation variables was independently taken as the independent variable and then regressed against internal locus of control, the dependent variable. Results illustrate that each of the five EO variables alone is a significant predictor of internal locus of control.
Autonomy was the first to be excluded for not being significant, followed by risk taking and competitive aggressiveness. The final output that resulted from running backward regression analysis was summarized in Table 4, which presents the multiple regression analysis that was performed for the purpose of testing hypotheses 1 through 5. The scale with the highest factor loading for each of the five entrepreneurial orientation dimensions was regressed against the scale with the highest factor loading for internal locus of control.
The five entrepreneurial orientation dimensions were considered to be independent variables and were regressed against internal locus of control, the dependent variable.
The backward regression method was applied in the analysis. In this method, the computer begins by placing all the predictors (innovation, risk taking, pro-activeness and competitive aggressiveness) in the model and then calculating the contribution of each one. Field (2002) explains that by looking at the significance value of the t-test for a specific predictor, the contribution of each predictor is assessed. This significance value is compared against a removal criterion. If a predictor meets the removal criterion, i.e., if it is not making a statistically significant contribution to how well the model predicts the outcome variable, it is removed from the model and the model is re-estimated for the remaining predictors. The contribution of the remaining predictors is then reassessed. For this specific test the significance value was compared against a removal criterion of 0.1, which is a probability value for the test statistic.
Applying multiple regression analysis has resulted in considering the pro-activeness dimension of entrepreneurial orientation as being a significant contributor in the model. Table 4 shows that pro-activeness has a significant coefficient and appears to be a predictor of internal locus of control (t = 4.982, P<0.05). Therefore, Hypothesis 1: "Pro-activeness is a significant predictor of internal locus of control orientation among overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs" is supported.
Applying multiple regression analysis has resulted in the elimination of the risk taking dimension of entrepreneurial orientation for being a non-significant predictor of internal locus of control. Therefore, Hypothesis 2: "High internal locus of control is significantly predicted by the level of risk taking among overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs" is not supported
Applying multiple regression analysis has resulted in considering the innovation dimension of entrepreneurial orientation as being a significant contributor in the model. Table 4 shows that innovation has a significant coefficient and appears to be a predictor of internal locus of control (t = 2.750, P<0.05). Therefore, Hypothesis 3: "Innovative behaviour is a significant predictor of internal locus of control orientation in overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs" is supported.
Applying multiple regression analysis has resulted in the elimination of the autonomy dimension of entrepreneurial orientation for being a non-significant predictor of internal locus of control. Therefore, Hypothesis 4: "Autonomy is a significant predictor of internal locus of control orientation in overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs" is not supported
Applying multiple regression analysis has resulted in the elimination of the competitive aggressiveness dimension of entrepreneurial orientation for being a non-significant predictor of internal locus of control. Therefore, Hypothesis 5: "Competitive aggressiveness is a significant predictor of internal locus of control orientation in overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs" is not supported.
One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted to examine whether overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs operating in high individualism countries differ from those operating in collectivist countries in terms of their social identity. Table 5 presents a summary of the results of the ANOVA test that was conducted.
For the purpose of testing hypothesis 6, a null hypothesis of no difference between the country means was tested:
Ho: [mu] USA = [mu] Canada = [mu] Australia = [mu] France = [mu] West Africa = [mu] Arab region
At a 0.05 level of significance alpha, Levine, Berenson and Stephan (1999) explained that if the null hypothesis is true, we should expect the computed F-statistic to be approximately equal to 1 because both the numerator and denominator mean square terms are estimating the true variance d2 inherent in the data. On the other hand, if Ho is false and there are real differences in the means, we should expect the computed F-statistic to be larger than 1. The ANOVA output has revealed an F-statistic for the individualism scale that is above 1, which indicates that the null hypothesis is rejected and that not all country means are equal.
Even though results have demonstrated that the overseas Lebanese are highly individualistic, their levels of individualism varied from one country of operation to another. Overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs operating in the USA, Canada and Australia (individualistic countries) demonstrated higher levels of independence than those operating in France and West Africa (collectivist nations), but not in the Arab region (also collectivist). Therefore, Hypothesis 6: "Lebanese entrepreneurs operating in highly individualistic countries [USA, Canada, Australia (Hofstede, 1980)] demonstrate higher levels of independence than those operating in collectivist countries [West Africa, France, the Arab region (Hofstede, 1980)]" is partially supported.
Hypothesis 7 suggests that overseas Lebanese operating in low uncertainty avoidance countries will demonstrate higher willingness to take risk than those operating in high uncertainty avoidance countries. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted to test for the existence of a difference between the means of the respondents of different countries in terms of the risk taking dimension. Table 5 presents a summary of the results of the ANOVA test that was conducted.
Moreover, for the purpose of testing hypothesis 7, a null hypothesis of no difference between the country means in terms of risk taking was tested:
Ho: [mu] USA = [mu] Canada = [mu] Australia = [mu] France = [mu] West Africa = [mu] Arab region
At a 0.05 level of significance, the ANOVA output has revealed an F-statistic for the risk taking scale that is above 1, which indicates that the null hypothesis is rejected and that not all country means are equal. Contrary to the developed hypothesis, the overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs operating in high uncertainty avoidance cultures were found to be more risk takers than those operating in low uncertainty avoidance cultures. This implies that the host countries of the overseas Lebanese did not affect them culturally in terms of uncertainty avoidance. Therefore, Hypothesis 7: "Lebanese entrepreneurs operating in high uncertainty avoidance countries [West Africa, France, the Arab Region] demonstrate lower levels of risk taking than those operating in low uncertainty avoidance countries [USA, Canada, Australia (Hofstede, 1980)]" is rejected.
Discussion of Results
The results of running multiple linear regression on the five entrepreneurial orientation dimensions and the internal locus of control construct has revealed that only innovation and pro-activeness were found to be significant predictors of internal locus of control. The significant relationship between innovation and internal locus of control reveals that overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs perceive that being innovative is a way of exerting control over their environment. It has previously been mentioned that entrepreneurs by most definitions are initiators, taking responsibility for their own welfare and not dependent on others. Also, innovation has been described as "the specific tool of the entrepreneur" and "the means by which they exploit change" (Drucker, 1985: 28). Furthermore, as noted earlier, innovation has long been associated with entrepreneurial behaviour and even regarded as a defining element of the entrepreneurial role (Schumpeter, 1934). Moreover, since according to Begley and Boyd (1987) creativity and innovation are linked to high tolerance for ambiguity, it has been concluded that among overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs, the tendency to discount external constraints is a key attribute in their innovative personality.
People with high achievement motivation were found to pursue competitively aggressive strategies (Ward, 1993). Research by Miner, Smith and Bracker (1989) has found that achievement motivation explained high levels of creativity and innovation. Therefore, relying on the test results, it is concluded that the innovative attribute of the overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs also includes the competitive aggressiveness dimension of entrepreneurial orientation, which is a desire to outperform others and act boldly.
On the other hand, the significant relationship between pro-activeness and internal locus of control reveals willingness among overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs who believe in their personal influence over events and outcomes to act proactively. Research by Ward (1993) has concluded that pro-activeness requires a desire to think about the future and take actions to answer future situations and threats. As a result, pro-activeness requires the capability to handle the unknown and accept risk (Markman and Baron, 2003). Therefore, it can be concluded from this project's statistical analysis that the risk taking dimension of entrepreneurial orientation is embedded in the proactive personality of the overseas Lebanese entrepreneur.
In individualistic societies, personal values and goals are the prime determinant of behaviour and self-identity, whereas, in collectivist societies, group values and goals predominate. Contrary to hypothesis 6, cultural influence in terms of individualism/collectivism did not influence the overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs' character. Although being highly individualistic in general, the overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs operating in the Gulf, a collectivist region, have demonstrated higher levels of independence than those operating in the USA, Canada and Australia, the countries categorized by Hofstede (1980) as being highly individualistic.
One explanation could be that the overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs who are operating in foreign lands have worked on becoming distinguishable from the natives as a result of being strangers in strange lands. This can be noticed in the types of businesses that they chose to operate such as trade and services that are operated independently. Moreover, the overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs operating in individualistic cultures have found themselves in an environment that prize individual initiative and independent entrepreneurial behaviour. On the other hand, the overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs operating in collectivist nations that rely upon the group for action taking were not affected by the system and have maintained their independent identity.
Another explanation to this phenomenon has to do with the cultural influence of the overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs' home country. According to Sayigh (1962), certain common features of the Lebanese culture underlie as well as reflect the results of individualism and competitiveness. For example, the traditional prestige which generally attaches to commerce and foreign trade, the accumulation of proverbs and sayings that emphasize the superiority of business ventures that are singly operated, the love of freedom and independence. This unique cultural heritage could be an explanation to the high individualism that is prevalent among overseas Lebanese operating in individualistic as well as collectivist cultures. The Lebanese culture and its role as a possible influence on the success of overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs was not among the dimensions of this research model; however, it could be mentioned as a possible explanation behind the high independence level that characterize the overseas Lebanese.
Generally, what we can learn from the Lebanese experience may apply largely to other migrant societies. Destination countries such as Australia, Canada, and the USA have evolved in recent centuries on the foundations of migrant diasporas worldwide. Characteristics of success of Lebanese migrants may serve as a starting point to determine generalized lessons about multicultural diverse entrepreneurship.
A review of the statistical survey of 264 Lebanese entrepreneurs operating worldwide leads to the following conclusions regarding their entrepreneurial profile. In creativity and innovation, overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs appear to be creative and inventive individuals, capable of originality of thought. They are motivated to develop novel solutions to problems. They values new ideas and like to improvise. In uncertainty avoidance, they enjoy taking chances, and exposing them self to situations with uncertain outcomes. In the spirit of competition, they maintain high standards and work toward the attainment of established goals. They respond positively to competition and are willing to make extra effort to attain excellence. In autonomy, they are self-reliant, self-confident, with strong determination and perseverance to initiate and grow an enterprise.
Overall, the overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs were found to be high risk takers. Risk taking among overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs seems to be unrelated to the cultural environment in which they are operating. Contrary to hypothesis 7, overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs operating in low uncertainty avoidance cultures did not portray higher levels of risk taking than those operating in high uncertainty avoidance. On the contrary, overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs operating in high uncertainty avoidance cultures were found to be more risk takers than those operating in low uncertainty avoidance cultures.
High levels of risk taking portrayed by overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs operating in high uncertainty avoidance cultures could be explained as being due to political and economic conditions. Furthermore, as opposed to the natives of high uncertainty avoidance countries, who are less willing to take risk in their own mother country, overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs coming from abroad and dreaming of success have no problem in taking high risks in hopes of high returns.
This research examined a set of behavioral factors (EO and Internal Locus of Control, as well as cultural ones (Individualism/Collectivism and Uncertainty Avoidance) that are related to entrepreneurship. The cultural influence of the respondents' home country (Lebanon) was not tackled in the research model. Furthermore, future research could expand this investigation to include other traits associated with entrepreneurial behavior as well as the effect of other contextual factors such as the educational system of the host country, its political economy, and stage of economic development.
The research model did not incorporate measurement of success because much of it is outside the realm of entrepreneurial autonomy. However, it is important to measure several different aspects of success such as meeting goals, economic success, life style success, growth, and others. Moreover, although the included factors are most frequently cited as being traits of entrepreneurship, others such as human and social capital could be constituents of future research models. Moreover, the study did not consider the respondents' gender, age, education, and type of business into the model of analysis. Future research could check for any significant differences in levels of entrepreneurial orientation among overseas Lebanese males and females. Moreover, another approach would be to explore the interaction effect of gender and culture on the likelihood of entrepreneurial orientation. Effects of gender, age, education, and type of business could be investigated in further research.
Ultimately, consensus among these various perspectives will provide a more complete theoretical framework for explaining entrepreneurial success factors within and across varying political and socio-economic contexts. Finally, in this research we were able to overcome the barrier of access, a significant hurdle to international entrepreneurship research, by soliciting the help of friends, relatives, and personal connections during the data collection phase of the project. As a result, data were collected from the USA, Canada, Australia, France, West Africa, and the Arabian Gulf. Future research could venture into other places where the overseas Lebanese entrepreneurs are as successful and prominent but perhaps less numerous, such as Latin America, North Africa, and Eastern Europe.
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Philippe W. Zgheib, American University of Beirut
Abdulrahim K. Kowatly, Business executive in the Arab Gulf
For further information on this article, contact:
Philippe W. Zgheib, Assistant Professor, Olayan School of Business, American University of Beirut Phone: +961 .1 .374444 extension 3729 (office); +961 .1 .366482 (home) Fax: +961 .1 .750214 Email: email@example.com
Table 1. Reliability Coefficients EO dimensions: Cronbach's Alpha Innovativeness 0.754 Pro-activeness 0.882 Risk Taking 0.876 Competitive Aggressiveness 0.878 Autonomy 0.754 Locus of Control Internal Locus of Control 0.511 External Locus of Control 0.452 Table 2. Means, Standard Deviations and Correlations between Variables Pro- Variables Mean SD Innovation activeness Innovation 4.85 0.469 Proactiveness 4.90 0.304 0.691 ** Risk-taking 4.78 0.511 0.402 ** 0.641 ** Competitive 4.85 0.49 0.861 ** 0.843 ** Aggressiveness Autonomy 4.92 0.277 0.575 ** 0.531 ** Internal Locus 4.63 0.597 0.423 ** 0.356 ** of Control External Locus 1.79 0.633 -0.311 ** 0.269 ** of Control Internal Risk- Competitive Locus of Variables taking Agressiveness Autonomy Control Innovation Proactiveness Risk-taking Competitive 0.57 ** Aggressiveness Autonomy 0.302 ** 0.637 ** Internal Locus 0.222 ** 0.462 ** 0.318 ** of Control External Locus 0.151 * -.332 ** -0.229 ** -0.095 of Control * Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed). ** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). Table 3. Results of Single Linear Regression Analysis (P<0.05) Variables Innovation Proactiveness Beta SE Beta SE Constant 2.022 0.347 1.198 0.557 Internal Locus 0.538 0.542 0.7 0.113 R 0.423 0.356 [R.sup.2] 0.179 0.127 Adjusted [R.sup.2] 0.176 0.124 Variables Risk-taking Competive Aggressiveness Beta SE Beta SE Constant 3,386 0.338 1.903 0.325 Internal Locus 0.26 0.07 0.562 0.067 R 0.222 0.462 [R.sup.2] 0.049 0.213 Adjusted [R.sup.2] 0.583 0.21 Variables Autonomy Beta SE Constant 1.256 0.621 Internal Locus 0.686 0.126 R 0.318 [R.sup.2] 0.101 Adjusted [R.sup.2] 0.098 N=264 Table 4. Results of Multiple Regression Analysis (P<0.05) Variables R2 R2 Constant Innovation Proactiveness Beta Beta Beta Internal Locus 0.235 0.229 0.042 0.501 0.434 of Control T 0.057 2.750 4.846 Std. Error 0.749 0.182 0.081 N=264 Table 5. One-Factor ANOVA for Autonomy and Risk Taking of Expatriate Lebanese Operating in the USA, Canada, Australia, France, West Africa, and the Arab Gulf F-statistic Significance Autonomy (self, or independent) 3.727 0.020 Risk-taking 3.163 0.009
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|Author:||Zgheib, Philippe W.; Kowatly, Abdulrahim K.|
|Publication:||Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship|
|Date:||Jun 22, 2011|
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