Catch-22: Token women trying to reconcile an impossible contradiction between organizational and societal expectations


Extending tokenism theory, and Kanter’s (1977a & b) work on numerical representation specifically, we emphasize the external, societal context of gender inequality in order to understand token women’s lived experiences at work. Based on analysis of 29 in-depth interviews in a multinational (MNC) situated in the distinctive socio-institutional setting of Saudi Arabia, the paper expands Kanter’s (1977a) typology of roles, to capture token assimilation in a context embedded way. In particular, we explore the contradictory interaction of a seemingly Western MNC espousing liberal values, rules and norms within the enduring patriarchal and traditional context of Saudi Arabia. Further adding texture to Kanter’s (1977a & b) theory, this study reveals that the organizational context cannot be seen as fundamentally neutral and inevitably interacts with the societal context, resulting in unique manifestations of tokenism.

Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Work & Organisational Psychology
Publication ISSN: 1469-8722
Full Text Link: https://qmro.qm ... 123456789/72998
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PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2021-06-28
Accepted Date: 2021-06-28
Authors: Aldossari, Maryam (ORCID Profile 0000-0001-9661-4610)
Chaudhry, Sara
Tatli, Ahu
Seierstad, Cathrine



Version: Accepted Version

Access Restriction: Restricted to Repository staff only until 1 January 2050.

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