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Ibrahim Abdullah Al-Rahbi

This thesis is submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Business Administration

Faculty of Business and Law Victoria University Melbourne, Australia

August 2008

I would like to thank all those who have contributed in so many ways to the completion of this thesis. Firstly I acknowledge my two great supervisors, Professor Bhajan Grewal from the Centre for Strategic Economic Studies (CSES) at Victoria University for his excellent guidance and supervision, and Associate Professor Shashi Sharma from the Faculty of Business and Law at Victoria University who has been very supportive and helpful in co-supervising this thesis. I would like to acknowledge their valuable time and advice as well as their intellectual support and encouragement throughout my academic journey. Their patience, intellectual generosity and dedicated assistance have contributed greatly to my doctoral degree. I am most indebted to my loving brother (Hamad), who encouraged me to start this research project but did not live long enough to see it finished. His advice and support were instrumental in leading me to the successful completion of this study. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to: the staff at CSES especially my thesis editor Margarita Kumnick; the Office for Postgraduate Research, particularly Tina Jeggo; the Muscat Municipality; and participants who showed an enthusiastic interest in this study. Without their help, advice and contribution, the research would not have been completed. I wish to thank my beloved parents, my wife and children, brothers and sisters, and friends for their generous support, understanding, encouragement and patience. Last, but not least, I would like to dedicate this thesis to my beloved country, Oman.


I, Ibrahim Abdullah Al-Rahbi, declare that the DBA thesis entitled An Empirical Study of the Key Knowledge Economy Factors for Sustainable Economic Development in Oman is no more than 65,000 words in length including quotes and exclusive of tables, figures, appendices, bibliography, references and footnotes. This thesis contains no material that has been submitted previously, in whole or in part, for the award of any other academic degree or diploma. Except where otherwise indicated, this thesis is my own work.


Date 26-8-2008



Heavy economic dependence on oil revenues has come under scrutiny in most oil producing countries, including the Sultanate of Oman. The main catalysts for this have been the gradual decline of oil production, depletion of oil reserves, fluctuations in oil price and high rates of population growth in many of these countries. The Omani government has initiated economic strategies with the aim of diversifying Oman’s economy. In the absence of any previous studies on this aspect of Oman’s economy, the aim of this research is to explore the prospects for the development of the knowledge economy and to identify the key knowledge economy factors for achieving sustainable economic development in Oman. The analytical framework used consisted of three distinct phases. First, a benchmarking process was used for assessing Oman’s readiness in relation to the knowledge economy. This phase revealed a low level of readiness in respect of the key knowledge economy pillars. Secondly, interviews of nine relevant senior government officials resulted in the identification of five knowledge economy drivers that could lead Oman into successfully establishing a knowledge economy. Finally, a non-parametric quantitative approach was used on a data set collected through a survey targeting 310 major service companies in Oman. The results of this analysis appear to complement those of the previous two phases of analysis in emphasizing the importance of the four...
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