Strategizing in a Focused Context: Managerial Discretion in the Arab World

Moustafa Haj Youssef, Ioannis Christodoulou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
51 Downloads (Pure)


The purpose of this paper is to broaden the national-level construct of managerial discretion and to investigate the effect of cultural practices on executive discretion.

Based on a sample of six Arabian countries and using a panel of prominent cross-cultural scholars who provided 262 discretion scores for the sample countries, the authors replicate and extend the national framework of Crossland and Hambrick (2011) in a new cultural context. The cultural dimensions were measured using survey responses of middle managers based on House et al.’s (2004) cultural practices scale.

The authors extend the national-level framework of managerial discretion and find that an encompassing array of cultural practices plays a crucial role in shaping the degree of discretion provided to CEOs. The authors empirically demonstrate that power distance, future and performance orientation, along with gender egalitarianism and assertiveness have positive relationships with managerial discretion. However, institutional collectivism, uncertainty avoidance and humane orientation negatively affect the degree of discretion provided to CEOs.

The study fills a gap in the literature regarding the national-level framework of managerial discretion. The results indicate that executives can take idiosyncratic and bold actions to the extent to which the cultural environment allows them to do so. Also, the authors discover new national-level antecedents of managerial discretion that have not been considered in earlier studies and confirm the context dependency of this concept.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-452
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Strategy and Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • CEOs
  • Cultural practices
  • Arab countries
  • Managerial discretion


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