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Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review

ISSN: 2223-5833

Open Access

Gendered Gatekeeping Dynamics and ICT: Sustaining Segregation through Digital Proxy and Surveillance in a Saudi University

Abstract

Amal Alotaibi

This paper aims to attend to the role of information and communication technology (ICT) in organizational social and cultural issues. The study explores ICT gatekeeping dynamics, and does this in the context of gendersegregation in Saudi Arabia, and the current marginalization of the female workforce. The physical separation of men and women at work, and the utilization of ICT by competing groups to promote integrated practices provide an opportunity to understand power dynamics as enabled by digital technologies. Through empirical case analysis of an Oracle task management system, the study presents a number of findings emerging from the segregated context related to technology use. These findings are particularly relevant for network gatekeeping studies, and consist of identifying two ICT gatekeeping mechanisms (proxy and surveillance), and two types of change mechanisms (formative and dismantling). In addition to exploring the technological aspects of ICT use in segregated work, the study also attempts to document and evaluate some of the existing practices in terms of progressive change. The multi-layered male hegemony in Saudi, as imposed by governmental, cultural, and religious dominion, and the paradoxes arising from technology use that promotes female inclusion while simultaneously keeping segregation intact, makes this an issue riddled with extreme complexity. This study departs from attempts to classify technology as either a means of female emancipation or subjugation. Instead, by providing glimpses from a diverse cultural setting, the study highlights the inevitability of both enablement and constraint in technology use.

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