Lorraine Cowley

    Research output: Types of ThesisDoctoral Thesis


    The aim of this research is to explore the social processes of individual-to-individual collaboration in Bahrain’s oil and gas sector, in pursuit of two research questions; 1. how does individual-to-individual collaboration occur in Bahrain’s oil and gas sector and 2. how do social processes facilitate, or hinder individual-to-individual collaboration in Bahrain’s oil and gas sector? Through the theoretical lens of social network theory, the social processes of one-to-one, role-to-role and local community networks with innate social capital is explored. This study adopts an interpretivist interview research design involving semi-structured interviews with participants from private and semi state-owned firms across Bahrain’s oil and gas sector and professional sub-networks, supported with insights gleaned from archival data and researcher reflective diaries. Cognisant of the cultural context and the researcher’s outsider status, two cultural insiders with close proximity to the social context, are recruited as counsel and co-creators in the research process. The findings reveal strong ties over casual ties are preferred in the pursuance of individual-to-individual collaboration in this sector. In the formation of new relationships, social network engagement is an important social lubricant to building rapport and trust between network actors. This research unveils the broker role in bridging weak ties to dense networks, while a refined conceptual framework illustrates innate socio-cultural nuances and norms facilitating collaboration in this sector. This research adds to emerging discourse on the value of closed-diverse networks and social networks in Middle Eastern commercial contexts. The findings have practical implications for international professionals and native new entrants by drawing attention to the multifaceted social mechanisms and structures underpinning collaborative relationships in this sector. There is further scope to explore the value of native community networks and brokers to commercial activity in similar contexts. The inclusion of cultural insiders enhances rigor in the research process and the development of the cultural insider research protocol has practical relevance for other researchers in similar context laden environments.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Business Administration
    Awarding Institution
    • Kelliher, Felicity, Supervisor
    • Bowe, Patricia, Supervisor
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2020


    • Social processes, Oil and gas sector, Bahrain


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