Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 129, Issue 4, pp 859–877 | Cite as

How Islamic Business Ethics Impact Women Entrepreneurs: Insights from Four Arab Middle Eastern Countries

  • Hayfaa A. Tlaiss


This study explores how Islamic business ethics and values impact the way in which Muslim women entrepreneurs conduct their business in the Arab world. Guided by institutional theory as a theoretical framework and social constructionism as a philosophical stance, this study uses a qualitative, interview-based methodology. Capitalizing on in-depth, face-to-face interviews with Muslim Arab women entrepreneurs across four countries in the Arab Middle East region, the results portray how Islamic work values and ethics are embedded in the entrepreneurial activities of these Arab women. The results also illustrate how Muslim women entrepreneurs seek well-being (falah) in their life and excellence (itqan) in their work while running their businesses. The Muslim women entrepreneurs adhered to the Islamic work-related values of good and hard work (amal salih), honesty and truthfulness (sidik and amanah), fairness and justice (haqq and adl), and benevolence (ihsaan) and perceived them as instrumental to the survival and success of their enterprises. The agency of the Muslim Arab women allowed them to construct and navigate their entrepreneurial careers away from the traditional, doctrinaire interpretations of Islam. This study, therefore, contributes to theory development on the interrelationship between gender and business ethics within entrepreneurial contexts and in relation to Muslim values. It also contributes to studies on entrepreneurship and business ethics by showing how Arab women practice entrepreneurship and project their faith in their enterprises. The implications of the study for academics, multinational corporations, and globalization are numerous and important for understanding how business is conducted in Islamic countries.


Business ethics Arab Middle East Hadeeth Islam/Muslim Qur’an Women entrepreneurs 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of BusinessUniversity of New Brunswick Saint JohnSaint JohnCanada

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