Exploring Arab Middle Eastern women's perceptions of barriers to, and facilitators of, international management opportunities
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Extant research has suggested that there are four key barriers to women undertaking international assignments: corporate resistance; foreigner prejudice; women's own disinterest; and lack of family and other support mechanisms. While there has been substantive research investigating the existence of barriers to women undertaking international assignments, the vast majority of research has focused on Western women and Western multinational corporations (MNCs). This study sought to examine the disposition which Arab Middle Eastern women have towards undertaking international assignments. This research is significant because of the growing international strategic political and economic importance of many Arab Middle Eastern nations and that many Arab Middle Eastern women are highly educated and would prove a valuable human resource for international organizations. This paper reports the findings of a survey of 97 middle- and senior-level female managers in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and the UAE, seeking to elucidate the factors which Arab Middle Eastern view as barriers to, or facilitators of, international management opportunities. The study is significant in: a) extending research on women and international work to an Arab Middle Eastern context; b) expands understanding of what is international work by highlighting that the majority of Arab Middle Eastern women's managerial, international employment, and skills development opportunities come via non-government organizations and women's organizations. This makes their opportunities for international engagement very different from those of Western women who overwhelmingly receive international experience via MNCs; and c) extends understanding of international work barriers to include an assessment of national cultural and institutional issues.
International Journal of Human Resource Management
Copyright 2010 Routledge. This is an electronic version of an article published in International Journal of Human Resource Management, Volume 21, Issue 1, 2010, Pages 61 - 83. International Journal of Human Resource Management is available online at: http://www.informaworld.com with the open URL of your article.
Human Resources Management