The role of sociocultural dimensions in innovation systems: the Gulf Cooperation Council
This research investigates the role of sociocultural dimensions in increasing national innovative capacity. While literature focuses on other determinants of innovation output, such as the stock of knowledge and resources dedicated to R&D, dimensions of a cultural nature have yet to be adequately addressed. The investigation examines sociocultural factors in natural resource-rich countries where the urgency to survive is not the primary driver in achieving economic growth. Oil-rich GCC countries, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, have made significant investment in education and information and communications technology to develop their economies. The primary focus in developing the economies has shifted to increasing innovative capacity. This study attempts to determine other factors that need to be in place to achieve increased innovative capacity as measured by new-to-the world knowledge and innovation. Endogenous growth theory and national innovation systems provide the theoretical base for the investigation. A deductive approach will be used to produce hypotheses that will be tested quantitatively, using existing indicators for sociocultural dimensions. Five sociocultural dimensions were found to be significant in innovative capacity when tested in leading innovator countries (Germany, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, United States), emerging innovator countries (Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Korea), and GCC countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates) as a whole. However, three of the dimensions, Openness to Outside Influences, and Adaptability were unexpectedly inversely proportional to innovative capacity. More precise measurements and further research are required.
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