purpose, workplace. The sample will focus on government

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purpose, we need to focous on the issue in detials
and hear from the participant instead of sending questioneirs , to enure the
interaction and transperncy of the reponses espcially that topic of gender
inequality in workplace is not easy to talk about by women in UAE.


Data collection and sample


As UAE women are considered as well educated employees, its expected
that there will not be much difficulties that researcher will face talking
about gender inequality and stereotyping in workplace. The sample will focus on
government sector, semi-government, and private sectors as cases studies and
this will help to insight the challenges faced by women from different
structured organization. Also, it will help to compare the results and analyses
it per sector. The organizations should have high number of employees, more
than 500, so the situation of women can be understood easily and the
interaction with men and competition will be high. Three companies will be
selected and after using the secondary information collected from the company official
website, an email will be sent to the HR coordinator to validate the approvals
and facilities the communication with sample of women selected. In the three organization,
the attempt is to have total sample of 40 females working in executive and
different senior levels. A semi-structured interview will be conducted directly
with 20 female executives and managers from the three companies with ensuring
the audio recording for easy transcribing purpose. A coordination will happen
to create two focuses group in which each group will consist of 10 executives
and the other group 10 managers in different level. The participants of this rear
each are only women as the research aim needs to understand gender inequality
and stereotyping from only women work experience and point of views. The sample
of recruited women for interviews will be selected based on position, qualification
and experience in evacuative and different managerial levels because the study
needs to understand why a female is limited from being promoted to manager or
to get to the next level of managerial position. After all the meetings and focus
group; a thanking email will be sent across to individual participated and the organization.

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Research Ethics

As this research involves women participant, it’s very important to
take the necessary approval before starting the interviews and focus group from
their organizations and as well from individuals. The approval will be done
also on the using of recording audio for both methodologies. An information
sheet will be shared through email and in the same day of activity to explain
what’s the research aim and purpose and prior to starting also they will be
asked if they have any inquiries or request for more information about the
research paper.

Case Study

Case Study as the main qualitative methodology used in this
research paper. As Robert Yin (2003) explained in his book, case study
preferred to be used when there is how or why research questions, when the
researcher has less control over behavioral event and when the focus of the
research is on contemporary phenomenon in real-life context; which is in this
paper to study the experience of women in UAE facing barriers that limit their
opportunities to reach to managerial level. The phenomena tested will be glass
ceiling and gender stereotyping existence in workplace. Central case studies
can be used to asses and evaluate decision made, or set of decisions, why there
were taken, how to implement and show the results (Scharmm,1971). The case
study model will be explanatory context where the design will include the five components:
1: the main case study question: Why women in UAE facing difficulties in
reaching top managerial levels, 2: the 4 propositions mentioned in the above literature
review.3. the units of analysis which will be found from the three companies
selected.4. The logic linking the data and propositions and finally 5.
Interpreting the finding as per the criteria (Yin 2003). In data gathering
phase, the document review will be important, so I will be examining the annual
report about these companies, the gender index from the government statistical
center and the company official website. As the case study will mainly be
interpretation approach, the constructivism will drive the case role for
getting the direct women experience and be rational in the result analysis (Stake


Interviews is another method to conduct qualitative research and to
find in-depth answers in research questions. The main type used will be
semi-structured interviews where 20 female employees from different levels will
be targeted to answer a set of predetermined structured questions and
open-ended questions. Semi-structured interviews are the most widely used type
of interviewing method by researchers and can be conducted with individuals or
groups (Kvale & Brinkmann 2009). For this study 30 to 60 minutes face to
face interviews will be done to ensure that data collected is accurate and reflecting
the experience from personal matters (DiCicco &
Crabtree 2006). Following phenomenological interview approach, the main
objective of this interviews will be to answer how women are experiencing
gender inequality in workplace and how that is impacting their career
development (Bevan, 2014). According to Giorgi A, (1997,  p.245), who is considered as an influential
phenomenological researcher “questions are generally broad and open ended so
that the subject has sufficient opportunity to express his or her view point
extensively”.  Kvale and Brinkmann (2009)
and Seidman (2006), has used phenomenological theory provide a structure to the
interview approach to explore the phenomena. They have suggested that interview
structure should go through 3 phases: contextualization where the interview
must develop from a point of providing context, second is capturing the
phenomenon where more descriptive question is asked by the researcher and the
final phase is Clarifying the phenomenon with meaning through imaginative
formatting (Paul Ricoeur (as cited by Ihde, 1971). Any interview has about 7
stages, so after thematising and designing the interviewee will receive email
invitation for interview timing with the code of ethics and approval from for
audio recording. The target is to complete 15 interviews at least from the
total target which will leave the research with lots of transcript work. analyzing,
verifying and reporting will be the final stages of the interview.


Focus Group

This qualitative approach used in this paper because as Oates, C.
(2000) indicated. “The use of focus groups in social science research” which
will give the opportunity to collect data in group interactions. In the topic
of gender inequality and stereotyping, the cultural aspect created in Arab
world for years that men are superior will let women believe that normal
situation is with male leadership and from that perspective focus group is
chosen to facilities collective remembering and grab the attention of women
community interest (Kitzinger, 1994). As three companies will be involved, the focus
group will be done in two sessions; 10 participants per session; and the executive
and managerial level will be separated for more transparency in the discussion.
People usually hesitate to talk about another manager even from other gender in
front of managerial level so it’s preferable to separate the groups. As the
group as diversified form different organizations, some ice breaker activities will
be done with the researcher involvement. Letter of confidentiality will be
signed between the researcher and participant to ensure the fallowness and transparency
of the discussion. The focus group question will have pre-prepared schedule of
questions in the topic with moderator will be assigned to control the
discussion while the researcher will be an observer with an audio record of the

Using pilot research design: –

Its intended to use pilot study to develop and test the adequacy of
research instrument which in this paper questions of the focus group. This is
to try out if the protocol of diversifying focus group of female managers and executives
from different organization will work out without any obstacles. As Van, T.,
Edwin, R. and Hundley, V. (2001), the importance of pilot studies is summarized
in getting an advance warning that research project might fail, and research protocols
may not be followed correctly, or even the method or instrument proposed by
researcher is too complicated are did not fit the research purpose. As De Vaus
clearly said (1993: p54) “Do not take the risk. Pilot test first.”. To ensure
that focus group instrument will not be off track, and its apprprate for the
research aim; the pilot study design will be implemented by reviewing the
questions listed for focus group and explore the level of interest and
understanding by participated women among all different managerial level.

The study pilot procedure will be carried out to enhance the
internal validity and design of focus group questions. Finding similar sample
to the women who will be introduced and administrating the focus group using
the same questions then asking them for feedback will be the appropriate way of
conducting sample pilot study (Van, Edwin &
Hundley 2001). Its predicted that such revisions will improve the quality of
the real qualitative instruments and avoid unsuitable data (Berg, 2007).
It will also help to prevent from timing control issues and will help the
researcher to rehearsal how to drive the discussion if it was going to
different direction. The pilot study also can uncover the local political
problem, especially that the topic of gender inequality is a sensitive area for
many organizations; so, it’s very important to drive the data collection in a
way that women can express in depth the true situation without hesitating the
results and without being bias toward the other gender. The result of pilot
study will be discussed separately in the actual paper to understand the reliability
and validity of the sample and method before starting the actual work. It’s
important to indicate that pilot study can have some limitations such as
possibility of making inaccurate assumptions (Van,
Edwin & Hundley 2001)

Analyzing Data Collected and anticipated results

As discussed earlier in the literature review section; there are
many different views in this field of career development of women in UAE and
how does it get affected by gender inequality, stereotyping and other cultural
barriers. Using qualitative analysis software, a thematic analysis will be used
to highlight the main challenges and barriers that women might face in the
workplace and the existing theory discussed in the literature review will be
used to support the findings. Through narrative analysis and identification of
the gender inequality issue, the research question will be answered and
discussed. The narrative analysis will help also to provide platform for the
data collected that will clarify itself. The analytical discussion will be
taken by using thematic analysis which is described as “thematic analysis is a
method for identifying, analyzing, and reporting patterns (themes) within data”
(Braun & Clarke 2006, p.6).

The predicted analysis of the data might show that although UAE has
showed a clear effort to close the gender gap and empower women, but the
organization cultures still proactive informally the gender stereotyping which
is slowing down the career development of women in UAE.


1.    Conclusion, implication and limitations

This study emphasizes that gender inequality and stereotyping still
exist and its affecting women career development in UAE.  This study among few that highlight women
leadership barriers in UAE and Middle East region. About 25 years ago, Marshall
(1991, p.5) stated in his research that “to involve women in organizations on
equal terms has still not been achieved” which is still considered as relevant
to the situation of female managers nowadays. 
Many efforts done after that to proof that gender inequality is still
exist using mostly qualitative methodologies.

Recommendation to the researcher who will work in this field is to
understand the cultural context of the area before examining such topics. As
changing cultures will take decades; its recommended to issue legislations that
reduce the gender gap and prohibit the stereotyping and glass ceiling concept
from organizations. HR system in UAE should be enhanced to eliminate such
behavior toward working women and to give women an equal opportunity beside men
based on their competency and eligibility rather than discrimination concepts. Another
solution is by introducing awareness session in UAE media that shows the
importance of gender equality at workplace and the effect on the economy as
whole. This research paper result can be applied by managers in organization
and policy decision maker. The implication of this project will help to reduce
unspoken issue in cultural organization which is gender stereotyping.

Research limitation might be that the scope of barriers affecting
women career development is only limited to external cultural factor (gender
inequality, stereotyping, glass ceiling, social-role, and religious belief). It’s
not discussing how women themselves are putting barriers to their advancement
through following old cultural thoughts or by other factors such as education
and experience. Also, future research should study this topic in different Arab
countries which might help to compare the legislation and the phenomena in
different countries.

Categories: Case Study


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