Need for achievement and entrepreneurial potential: A study of young adults in the UAE

James C. Ryan, Syed A. Tipu, Rachid M. Zeffane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between the need for achievement (N-ach) and entrepreneurial potential of young adults in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Design/methodology/approach – A sample of university business students (n =305) took part in the study. The data were collected using a tailored questionnaire designed to assess respondents' level of N-ach motivation and their relative potential to pursue entrepreneurial activities. Findings – The results revealed a strong correlation between N-ach and entrepreneurial potential among the participants. Analysis of differences across gender and nationality was also conducted, revealing lower levels of N-ach for UAE national participants, and higher levels of N-ach among women participants. Practical implications – Results support the view that achievement motivation is a potentially important factor in explaining entrepreneurial success. It also highlights a potential problem for the UAE economy and society in addressing the relatively low levels of N-ach among UAE nationals, especially males. Originality/value – Despite a professed desire on the part of the UAE Government to diversify the economy and promote entrepreneurial activity among UAE nationals, little research has been done on the nature of important variables such as N-ach and entrepreneurial potential in the region. This research addresses a key gap in the literature by exploring this relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-166
Number of pages14
JournalEducation, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 23 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Entrepreneurialism
  • Gender
  • Middle East
  • Motivation
  • Nationality
  • Need for achievement
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Young adults

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Business,Management and Accounting


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