A Socio-Political and Economic Study of the Effects of “Anti-Policy” among Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in the Sultanate of Oman

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This Socio-Political and Economic study is concerned with the influences of traditional path-dependency, networking, and rent-seeking as theoretical concepts giving rise to anti-policy as the major contributing cause hindering the progressive development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the Sultanate of Oman. The New Institutional Economy (NIE) Theory provided the theoretical framework for the primary research methodology, while reviews of the literature constituted the secondary research. The primary research included qualitative as well as quantitative data from interviews with SME stakeholders (players and actors) and mainly quantitative data from the responses of business owners to SurveyMonkey.

Powerful centralised control by the institution (government) was found to reinforce the pervasive influences of path dependency, networking and rent-seeking that impede the progress of the SME ecosystem. A restrictive environment unintentionally created by the institution pervaded the SME ecosystem giving rise to informal policy which in part supplanted formal policy. While this is a single case study, where possible the findings are contextualised in the literature on the Gulf states and the broader Middle East and North African region. The analysis of outcomes of the study and insights from the literature include suggestions on the sensitive introduction of change in the context of the embedded cultural practices in the institution and the SME ecosystem.

Keywords: SMEs, NIE, path dependency, networking, rent-seeking
Date of Award1 Nov 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorJeremy Jennings (Supervisor) & Mark Pennington (Supervisor)

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