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Article
Publication date: 8 May 2017

Jouharah M. Abalkhail

The purpose of this paper is to examine women managers’ perceptions of forces influencing their career progression to leadership positions in Saudi Arabian higher education (HE).

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine women managers’ perceptions of forces influencing their career progression to leadership positions in Saudi Arabian higher education (HE).

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative, interpretive approach is adopted for analysing in-depth interviews with women managers in Saudi HE.

Findings

The findings of this study provide an in-depth understanding of Saudi women’s experience in management in HE. This study shows that women face a number of challenges preventing them from achieving equitable representation in leadership positions; conversely, they do have some opportunities which help them in their careers. Additionally, it provides more explanation of how the macro factors trickle down to the organizational level to shape organizational process and practices, and have an impact on women accessing leadership positions. Furthermore, this study suggests that socio-cultural background does matter when studying women in management in the Saudi context.

Research limitations/implications

The paper, mainly focussing on women managers in Saudi HE, gives a clear picture of women’s careers and influencing factors.

Practical implications

The research has implications for government and other related institutions to formulate effective policies and appropriate strategies to help Saudi women access leadership posts.

Originality/value

The novelty of this paper is in its focus on the under-researched topic of careers of Saudi women managers. The paper is also valuable as it emphasizes the societal context for researchers wishing to study women’s careers in the Arab world.

Details

Career Development International, vol. 22 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1362-0436

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 May 2016

Jouharah M. Abalkhail and Barbara Allan

Women are under-represented in senior positions across the world, and this paper aims to explore the impact of wasta on women’s careers in the Arab Gulf States. This paper has two…

1489

Abstract

Purpose

Women are under-represented in senior positions across the world, and this paper aims to explore the impact of wasta on women’s careers in the Arab Gulf States. This paper has two main objectives: to understand the phenomenon of wasta and how it manifests itself within public organisations in the Gulf region; and to examine how wasta is impacting on women’s career advancement.

Design/methodology/approach

Qualitative interviews were conducted with 18 female managers working in public organisations in the Arab Gulf region.

Findings

The findings indicate that wasta refers to a social network of interpersonal connections, rooted in family and kinship ties, and linked to family affairs as well as work. In addition, the findings demonstrate that, as a result of wasta, social networks in the workplace, in the Arab Gulf Region, include family connections, and this is different to workplace networks in Western societies which are frequently limited to professional contacts and separate from family or friendship networks. In addition, the findings show that wasta may be used to support women’s career progression, providing they have access to appropriate wasta. Furthermore, the findings revealed that women, in the Arab Gulf Region, rely directly on their male family member’s connections, as career facilitators, to gain access to organisational opportunities.

Practical implications

The paper provides some practical suggestions for helping to overcome the potential negative effects of wasta and to ensure that organisations make the best use of their talent. Hence, this research could potentially inform national policy and organisational policymakers and, in particular, influence recruitment and selection practices to ensure that they are based on competence rather than personal connections.

Originality/value

The paper is based on empirical work in an under-researched, non-Western context. There is extensive literature on gender and management and leadership in Western cultures, and this paper contributes to the developing body of research on women in the Arab cultures. It provides a better understanding of the phenomenon of wasta, and it highlights the long-term consequences of wasta on employees, particularly women, working in public organisations. Also, it contributes to theory on the culture of organisations by highlighting the often neglected influences of the broader social and cultural systems, including patriarchal practices, on women’s positions in the organisational hierarchy.

Details

Gender in Management: An International Journal, vol. 31 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2413

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 22 April 2022

Jouharah M. Abalkhail

The purpose of this paper is to examine the experiences of employees who are exposed to dysfunctional behaviors by their leaders in a healthcare organization.

2913

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the experiences of employees who are exposed to dysfunctional behaviors by their leaders in a healthcare organization.

Design/methodology/approach

This study employed a qualitative methodology drawing on 25 semi-structured interviews with administrative and clinical employees working in a healthcare setting operating in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Findings

This study’s findings provide insights into dysfunctional leadership phenomena based on employees’ personal experiences with dysfunctional leaders. Dysfunctional leaders have several harmful behaviors, such as behaving in abusive ways, marginalizing others, engaging in favoritism, and degrading employees. This study also demonstrated that the leaders’ negative behavior directly influences employees to leave their jobs, contributes to feelings of alienation at work, reduces their commitment, and frequently creates serious psychological and physical problems. This study also discovered that over time the negative effects of a dysfunctional leader do not stop at employees; it also filters through to other areas such as the organizational environment and family life.

Originality/value

Dysfunctional leadership is under-studied within the context of the Middle Eastern region. Therefore, this study’s findings provide theoretical and practical implications. It provides information about employee experiences and how dysfunctional behavior influences individuals and, ultimately, organizational life. Furthermore, this study has value to practitioners by offering suggestions for organizational interventions for creating more effective policies and programs to support employees’ careers and well-being.

Details

Career Development International, vol. 27 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1362-0436

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 February 2018

Jouharah M. Abalkhail

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the challenges of translating qualitative data from Arabic to English within the field of gender and management studies.

1024

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the challenges of translating qualitative data from Arabic to English within the field of gender and management studies.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper presents a real experience of translating qualitative data from Arabic to English within the management area in Saudi Arabia. Data were collected from interviewing female managers working in the Saudi public sector.

Findings

Translating qualitative data from Arabic to English is not a straightforward process. During the translation of this cross-cultural qualitative research, three challenges were faced: the embeddedness of the language meaning in the culture, positionality and its influence on data production and language differences. The study found that, in absence of a standard way for translating cross-linguistic qualitative research, a combination of methods is found to be useful to increase the validity and reliability of the study findings. Researchers who conduct qualitative insider research and who translate their own data are in a better position to do cross-language data analysis.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the literature by showing that translating Arabic texts regarding gender, management and leadership is embedded within historical, cultural, political and institutional contexts, requiring a deep understanding of both language and culture to produce a depth of knowledge. Also, the novelty of this study is that it highlights the importance of being an insider qualitative researcher and translating the research data, as researcher offers significant opportunities for close attention to certain points in the text; and this could add value to the analysis as a way to establish validity of interpretations.

Details

Gender in Management: An International Journal, vol. 33 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2413

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 April 2020

Jouharah M. Abalkhail

This paper explores the experiences of women in Saudi Arabia who have been managed by other women, and examines how junior women perceive senior women's role in advancing their…

1498

Abstract

Purpose

This paper explores the experiences of women in Saudi Arabia who have been managed by other women, and examines how junior women perceive senior women's role in advancing their career.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on qualitative data gathered using in-depth semi-structured interviews undertaken with 30 women working in Saudi public organisations.

Findings

This study's findings shows that the hierarchical relationships between women and their woman manager are complex due to a multifaceted web of contextual factors including sociocultural values, family values, religious beliefs and organisational cultures and structures. These factors shape the quality of relationships between senior women and their women subordinates. Also, this study reveals that there is solidarity and ‘sisterly’ relationship between women in the workplace that plays a role in facilitating women's career development and advancement. In addition, this study shows that despite senior women's having supported other women's career advancement, this support tended to be conditional and limited. This can have an influence on women-to-women work relationships, where such relationships can be described as being disconnected and fragile. Furthermore, the study depict that there is evidence of the existence of ‘Queen Bee’-like senior women who distance themselves from other women and block their career advancement. The Queen Bee phenomena can actually become a form of hierarchy that mimics the patriarchal structure and excludes women from serving at top management levels.

Originality/value

This paper provides an in-depth understanding of the hierarchical relationships between women in the workplace and how these relationships have an influence on women's career advancement. Therefore, the paper makes a valuable contribution to the scarce knowledge that currently exists within the field of management research in relation to women's career development – and the advancement of such research within the Arab Middle Eastern context. Also, the findings of this study could potentially inform practitioners and HR department personnel within organisations about the connections between women's hierarchical workplace relationships and women's career development and advancement.

Details

Career Development International, vol. 25 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1362-0436

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 April 2023

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies.

441

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies.

Design/methodology/approach

This briefing is prepared by an independent writer who adds their own impartial comments and places the articles in context.

Findings

A study of healthcare employees in Saudi Arabia revealed the harmful effects of dysfunctional leadership behaviors. These included abusive behavior, marginalizing others, engaging in favoritism and degrading employees. The behaviors made employees leave their jobs, feel alienated at work, reduced their commitment and often created serious psychological and physical problems.

Originality/value

The briefing saves busy executives, strategists and researchers hours of reading time by selecting only the very best, most pertinent information and presenting it in a condensed and easy-to-digest format.

Details

Human Resource Management International Digest , vol. 31 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-0734

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 31 December 2020

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies.

271

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies.

Design/methodology/approach

This briefing is prepared by an independent writer who adds their own impartial comments and places the articles in context.

Findings

This research paper concentrates on understanding the experiences of Saudi Arabian women who've worked under a female manager, and on determining how these relationships with senior women impact the career prospects of women lower in the hierarchy. The results reveal that when positive sisterly relationships are achieved with a female manager, the less senior women feel their workplace is aligned with societal values. However, the relationship quickly becomes toxic when female managers begin displaying Queen Bee behaviors to protect their organizational status from potential competition.

Originality/value

The briefing saves busy executives and researchers hours of reading time by selecting only the very best, most pertinent information and presenting it in a condensed and easy-to-digest format.

Details

Human Resource Management International Digest , vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0967-0734

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 1 November 2016

Adelina Broadbridge and Sharon Anne Mavin

3146

Abstract

Details

Gender in Management: An International Journal, vol. 31 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1754-2413

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