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.
|Journal||Work, Employment and Society|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 28 Jun 2021|