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Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal The impact of bureaucracies and occupational segregation on
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal The impact of bureaucracies and occupational segregation on

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal

The impact of bureaucracies and occupational segregation on participation of Iranian women in the workforce Golshan Javadian Isaac Y. Addae

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Received 17 August 2012 Revised 1 March 2013 23 May 2013 Accepted 1 June 2013

The impact of bureaucracies and occupational segregation on participation of Iranian women in the workforce

Golshan Javadian and Isaac Y. Addae

Earl G. Graves School of Business, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss the challenges facing Iranian women in the workforce. While Iranian women’s participation in higher education is exceptionally high, their participation in the workforce, especially the public sector, is low. Design/methodology/approach – The paper compares the bureaucratic structures in public organizations with the “ideal” type of bureaucracy as defined by Weber (1922). Moreover, occupational segregation, which limits women’s choices, is examined as another barrier for Iranian women’s participation in the workforce. Findings – The paper argues that the main reason for the low participation of women in public organizations is the ill-structured bureaucracies in these organizations. Also, occupational segregation limits the career choices of Iranian women. Some of the challenges caused by these two factors are the result of discriminative rules and regulations. Originality/value – The paper contributes to the limited knowledge concerning the issues faced by Iranian women attempting to enter and progress in public organizations. While literature suggests that western women also face the same challenges in organizations, the unique characteristics of Iranian public organizations calls for separate analysis of these barriers in the Iranian context. By introducing readers to this unique subgroup of employees, the paper represents a starting point to an important area of research. Keywords Iran, Bureaucracy, Occupational segregation, Women Paper type Conceptual paper

segregation, Women Paper type Conceptual paper Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion:

An International Journal Vol. 32 No. 7, 2013 pp. 654-670 r Emerald Group Publishing Limited

2040-7149

DOI 10.1108/EDI-08-2012-0067

1. Introduction Lower participation of women in organizations, especially at the higher levels, has been attributed partially to organizational structures rather than women’s individual characteristics (Kanter, 1977). The gendered nature of organizational structure is exemplified in abstract jobs, hierarchies and common concepts in organizational thinking (Acker, 1992). Among the organizational structures, bureaucracies have been criticized the most by radical feminists for their male-dominated characteristics that repress women (Acker, 1990). Radical feminists who promote fundamental structural changes as oppose to mere equality (Echols, 1989) argue that due to their hierarchical structures, bureaucracies create a system of domination where people are controlled by other people (Bullis and Glaser, 1992). This results in a fragmented and competitive

The authors would like to thank the assistance of Dr Robert Singh and the anonymous reviewers in improving this paper. An earlier version of this paper was presented at Eastern Academy of Management 2012 Conference. They would also like to acknowledge the helpful suggestions made by those in attendance.

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population that is disadvantageous to minority groups, including women (Ferguson, 1984). Feminist efforts to create non-hierarchical organizations that are characterized by non-patriarchal ways of working (Gould, 1979; Martin, 1990) have not been completely successful. Among the reasons for such failure is the non-feasibility of non-hierarchical organizations (Acker, 1990). In the public sector specifically, bureaucracies have survived decades of structural reform since they enable governments to rely on the obedience of the employees (Schofield, 2001). Nimir and Palmer (1982) cite the critical role of bureaucratic structures in “executing the decisions of the political leadership and for maintaining the day to day regulatory and service functions of the state” (p. 93). Bureaucracies are also regarded as suitable forms of organizational structure in the public sector (Schofield, 2001), primarily focussed on managing state affairs (Tijsterman and Overeem, 2008). In fact, bureaucracy in the ideal form, as defined by Weber (1922), replaces the “rule of man” with the “rule of law” and tends to be more successful than other forms of organizational structure. Another barrier that leaves women with fewer career opportunities is occupational segregation (Reskin and Hartmann, 1986), which is an example of persistent gender inequalities in organizations (Benschop and Doorewaard, 2012). Occupational segregation results from individuals being assigned to jobs not on the basis of their qualifications, but on the basis of their gender. For example, health care and teaching occupations have often been fields where more women tend to hold positions than men. In contrast, men tend to occupy the majority of positions in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) industries (Bear and Woolley, 2011). While the exclusion of women in public organizations is not limited to a specific geographic location (World Bank, 2012), the phenomenon disproportionately affects women across Iran’s public organizations. Despite the exceptionally high rate of women’s participation in universities and higher education, the participation of women in Iranian labor force is very low (United Nations Development Program, 2010). Based on data from the World Bank (2012), the ratio of female to male higher education enrollment was 115 percent in 2008, while the ratio of female to male labor force participation was 22 percent. Additionally, as of 2008, Iranian women comprised 17 percent of the total labor force, and 53 percent of females in labor force were self-employed (World Bank, 2012). Therefore, the participation of women in the public sector is very low, resulting in Iranian women’s experience and competence not being utilized in public organizations (Zahedi, 2003). The underrepresentation of women in the public sector becomes a problem for a country that emphasizes economic development, and further contributes to the high unemployment rate the country suffers from. In stark contrast to Iran and other Middle Eastern nations, Western nations have maintained levels of gender equity in public sector employment. For example, through a comparative analysis of public sector employment across various Western nations, Gornick and Jacobs (1998) concluded that women occupied a majority of the public sector jobs within each nation. The commitment of Iranian women to fight for their gender interests has made their presence in many aspects of society persistent (Rostami Povey, 2004). Such consistent presence in the society has resulted in many of the gender stereotypes regarding women’s work to diminish. The women’s movement in Iran, which is perhaps the most forceful movement in the region, has impacted millions of women within the country and has created “powerful agents of major changes in everyday life in Iran” (Sameh, 2009, p. 10).

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However, like many developing countries, the ill-structured bureaucracies and occupational segregation serve as tough barriers for women who seek to enter the workforce and progress within it. The structures of bureaucracies in Iran that hinder women are far from what Weber (1922) defined as the “ideal type” bureaucracy, and the occupational segregation has limited women’s career choices. While literature (e.g. Acker, 1992; Kanter, 1977) suggests that these two barriers are among the challenges western women also face in organizations, the unique characteristics of Iranian public organizations calls for separate analysis of these barriers in the Iranian context. The purpose of this research is to examine the role of bureaucracies in public organizations and the occupational segregation in Iranian women’s careers. Also, this research seeks to examine how these two factors impact women’s entry in Iran’s public sector and how they limit women’s career progression in public organizations. The impact of organization structure and division of labor on women’s work and their personal lives has been the concern of many organization theory scholars (e.g. Acker, 1992; Eagly et al., 2009; Kanter, 1977). Researchers have indicated how bureaucracies serve as a specific form of organizing, and how occupational segregation serves as the gendered way of dividing the labor impacts of women’s careers (Ferguson, 1984; Kuhlmann and Bourgeault, 2008; Pearson, 2007). However, research has rarely looked at such topics in a non-western context (except for Afshar and Barrientos, 1999; Benjamin, 2011; Rodriguez, 2010). This research contributes to organization theory by examining the impact of such challenges on women’s work in a different context. Such an examination will improve the validation and generalizability of theories and findings discussed in western contexts. After reviewing the literature on women’s status in the labor force, we review the current state of Iranian women in the workforce. Then we explain the divergence of the bureaucratic systems placed in Iran from the “ideal type” bureaucracy (Weber, 1922) and examine the effects of these bureaucratic structures on women in the public sector. Next, the impact of occupational segregation on women’s participation in the labor force is examined. In examining these two barriers, we refer to certain rules and regulations unique to the Iranian public sector that are disadvantageous to women. We conclude with an offering of suggestions to improve women’s career participation in the Iranian workforce and also provide future research directions.

2. Women in the workforce Throughout history, women have suffered from patriarchal systems within political, social and economic entities. Current organization theories consistently indicate the male advantage (Acker, 1989) and the dialogue between organizational theory and feminist theory has done little to prevent gender from disappearing as a key organizational concern (Eveline and Bacchi, 2009; Fletcher, 1999). In economics, women’s domestic labors, such as child rearing, have been excluded from the dominant economic models across cultures (Waring, 1988). Within debates regarding globalization, the complexity of the experiences of women in specific socio-political environments has been ignored, especially in developing countries (Metcalfe and Rees, 2010). The labor markets are prioritized based on categories of gender (Pearson, 2007), and in the work place, women’s labor power is less valued both in private and public spheres (Hearn, 2004). This imbalance can also be observed across the international community, where the highest positions in organizations, such

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as the United Nations and the Word Trade Organization, are held by men (Metcalfe and Rees, 2010). Participation of women in the workforce can benefit organizations in many forms. Francoeur et al. (2008) argue that the participation of women in the workplace, especially in senior management positions, enhances the financial performance of the organization. Meier et al. (2006), in a study on gender and emotional labor in the public sector, identified a link between the inclusion of women in the workforce and the organizational performance of school districts, due to the effects of emotional labor provided by women. Moreover, research suggests that women often bring fresh viewpoints to complex issues that help organizations in their strategy formulation and problem solving (Francoeur et al. , 2008). Furthermore, as suggested by stakeholder theory, heterogeneous groups, including mixed gender groups, enhance the quality of decision making of the group due to the knowledge, judgment, creativity and the perspectives offered by these groups (Francoeur et al. ,

2008).

Some studies (e.g. Acker, 1992; Fagenson, 1990; Kanter, 1977) identify organizational structure deficiencies as a source of the limited participation of women in organizations. These studies argue that organizational structure rather than internal factors define and shape women’s behavior in organizations and form their destinies (Fagenson, 1990). Based on this perspective, individuals’ positions in organizational structures, the number of women in these positions, and the amount of power they have play an important role in women’s limited corporate progression (Fagenson, 1990; Kanter, 1977). According to Kanter (1977), the majority of women are located in disadvantaged positions in organizations. Such positions that offer limited power and advancement to their occupants lead them to develop behaviors and attitudes that justify their placements in these positions (Fagenson, 1990). Among organizational structures, bureaucracies have been the most criticized by radical feminists as a challenge to women’s positions in organizations (Acker, 1992). Bureaucracies create a system of domination where people are controlled by other people or structures (Bullis and Glaser, 1992). A system of this type does not easily allow women to enter the hierarchy of command due to the dominating character of the structures (Ferguson, 1984), and the interactions between individuals in these structures contribute to maintaining hierarchies favoring men (Acker, 1989). Connell (1990) identifies this system of domination as the “gender regime” existing within a bureaucracy, characterized by the nature of roles historically dominated by women that hinder their career progression. Among the challenges created by bureaucracies is the way power is obtained, maintained and implemented in such structures. As Metcalfe and Rees (2010) mention, the issues regarding gender are “not on women per se but on power relations between men and women, their access to resources and decision making power” (p. 7). In bureaucratic structures managers need both formal and informal power to perform their jobs successfully, and the informal power is obtained through developing a network of relationships (Kottis, 1993). Since women usually have fewer opportunities to develop networks and maintain informal power, they face more challenges in advancing their careers in bureaucratic structures (Kottis, 1993). The historical exclusion of women from the public sphere, along with the fact that women still hold mostly powerless positions, have led women’s voices to be submerged within the bureaucratic structures (Ferguson, 1984). As a result, women’s experience is prevented from penetrating organization structures.

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However, bureaucracies have been the dominant organizational structure, especially in public organizations. According to Schofield (2001), the obedience of workers has aided bureaucracies in surviving years of structural reform. Since it is not feasible to eliminate bureaucracies in public sectors, it may be more beneficial to revisit the concept of bureaucracy in its ideal form and examine what enabled these structures to survive for decades. In doing so, we suggest referring to Max Weber’s

658 (1922) introduction of the “ideal type” bureaucracy.

3. Weberian bureaucratic structure

In his discussion on the Protestant work ethic and the development of economic

systems, Weber viewed religion as a motivating force for individuals whose social actions ultimately led to economic progression (Parsons, 1948). As it relates to

economic development, from Weber’s perspective, the role of bureaucracy was to organize individuals and their actions through complex structures (Parsons, 1948). According to Weber (1978), bureaucracy in its current, or modern, form is viewed as a highly rational administrative structure, consisting of multiple distinguishing attributes and characterized by authority that persists due to domination and legitimacy. In addition to the authoritative, or formal, aspect of bureaucracy, Weber

also identified the existence of an informal aspect of bureaucracy, consisting of norms that govern the ethical behavior of individuals (Parsons, 1948). As viewed by Weber (1922), bureaucracy is the organizational equivalent of democracy’s “rule of law” replacing “rule of man”. In regards to his highly rational concept of bureaucracy as an “ideal type”, Weber (1922) argued that in modern society, organizations having such type of bureaucracy tend to survive longer and are more successful compared to other forms of organizations (Weber, 1922). Weber’s definition

of an ideal type bureaucracy is a complex rational division of labor with rule-governed

authority channels and fixed duties. To further elaborate on Weber’s (1922) perspective,

the ideal type bureaucracy is one in which:

recruitment is based on regulated qualifications and not the personal standards of skills;

the principles of office hierarchy exit and the subordinates are supervised by the superiors;

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.

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managers follow defined rules which can be learned;

entrenched patronage is eliminated and capricious decision making by frivolous nobility does not exist; and

repetitive tasks that involve little or no discretion are well managed and performed, and a clear understanding of the service provided reducing uncertainty exists.

Weber’s perspective on bureaucratic development and the motivating force of religion can be applied to the modern form of the Iranian bureaucracy. The current structure emerged through the Islamic revolution of the late 1970s, led by efforts to create

a formal governance structure rooted in Shi’a Islamic ideology (Wells, 2003).

Authoritative power in the Iranian bureaucracy is highly centralized, and in the view of Weber (1978), belonging to a ruling class of notables. While even in their ideal form bureaucracies may disadvantage women, and the divergence of bureaucracies from this ideal form may result in even more difficulties

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for women. After reviewing the overall status of Iranian women in the workforce, we examine how the divergence of bureaucracies from the ideal type bureaucracy in the Iranian public sector has contributed to women’s low participation in this sector. Because of their divergence from the ideal type bureaucracy, we refer to the structure of Iranian public organizations as “ill-structured” bureaucracies.

4. The status of Iranian women in the workforce Just like hundreds of millions of women around the globe, Middle Eastern women are struggling for equal rights and for the opportunity to work and improve their living standards ( Javadian and Singh, 2012). The assumption that most Middle Eastern women are kept at home is no longer valid since increasing rates of women are entering the workforce (Fernea, 2000). However, women of the Middle East suffer greatly from gender gaps both in social and economic spheres caused by culture and traditions of their societies. For example, women of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates are not allowed to vote, and Arab women are considerably underrepresented in senior executive positions, both in business and politics (Metcalfe, 2008). Along with the organizational barriers, women in the Middle East suffer from socio-cultural and economic barriers in their career advancement. Within the organizations, gendered occupational structures have limited the career progression of women ( Javadian and Singh, 2012). Moreover, women’s mobility restrictions in these countries limit their access to training and career choice options (Metcalfe,

2008).

Iranian women, in comparison to other women in the Middle East, face many of the same issues, but the country is also more progressive than the Arab world in many ways ( Javadian and Singh, 2012). We have already mentioned that women make up the majority of new college entrants. In addition, Iranian women are allowed to work outside the home and the number of women entering the workforce is gradually increasing (Mirmousavi, 2007). One of the reasons for such increase is the fact that the Iranian population is a young one. Today 70 percent of the 70 million population of Iran are under the age of 30 (Iran Statistics Centre, 2009); therefore, there is simply a need to have younger women workers to meet the labor demands of the nation (Mirmousavi, 2007). The result of these trends is that traditional views toward Iranian women participating in the workforce are changing (Mirmousavi, 2007). However, compared to their high level of participation in higher education, Iranian women’s participation in the workforce is still very low. While the public’s view about women in the workforce is changing for better, the persistence of structural barriers within public organizations contribute to the challenge of women seeking to enter these organizations. Low employment rates have also resulted in low rates of women’s participation in managerial positions (Alaedini and Razavi, 2005). The increasing number of female entrepreneurs in the Iranian society may also be the result of structural barriers in public organizations. Barriers of entry into public organizations lead to the identification of self-employment as a more suitable career choice for Iranian women. In the following section we examine two of the major barriers to Iranian women’s entry and career progression in public organizations. These barriers include the existence of ill-structured bureaucracies in public organizations and occupational segregation.

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5. Bureaucracy in Iran and its impact on women’s careers The common organizational structure in Iranian public organization is the bureaucratic structure. While in some developed societies bureaucratic systems have been contributing to economic progression, in many developing countries, including Iran, bureaucracies have become an obstacle (Vardinejad, 2010). As Vardinejad (2010) explains, the reason for this is the disharmony between the development of the bureaucracies and the development of other parts of social systems, such as the legal system in those societies. Such inconsistency has led to the formation of incomplete bureaucracies in developing countries such as Iran. Bureaucracy is interpreted as the conservative and partial public administration which exists in Iranian public organizations (Vardinejad, 2010). The public organizations are well known for their chaotic and complex processes, their lack of attention to the needs of customers, their strict and unclear rules and their relationship-oriented procedures (Vardinejad, 2010). Despite being called a bureaucracy, the current organization structure in Iran is still lined with the “rule of man” and the concept of bureaucracy is still very far from Weber’s (1922) ideal type bureaucracy, or the organizational equivalent of democracy’s “rule of law”. Here we examine some of the characteristics of the bureaucracies in Iran and compare them to Weber’s ideal type of bureaucracy. Then we explain how these characteristics are impacting women’s careers in Iran.

5.1 Recruitment As Weber (1922) states, one of the characteristics of the ideal type bureaucracy is that recruitment is based on regulated qualification. Weber (1922) explains that in this form of bureaucracy, systematic provision is made for fulfillment of responsibilities and execution of rights and only individuals with regulated qualifications to serve are employed. In Iran, entrance to the public system, which is the main employer of job seekers, is based on non-bureaucratic and non-rational criteria rather than on technical competency. As Jamshidian (1994) explains, one of the characteristics of bureaucracy in Iran is the discriminative selection of the workforce. The recruitment of the workforce in Iran’s administrative system is based mainly on measures of gender, ethnicity, religion and political ideology ( Jamshidian, 1994). Additionally, the regulations of the government have cont ributed to discriminative selection, especially in regards to women. As Kar (2010) mentions, many of the challenges Iranian women face have roots in the constitution of the Islamic Republic. The rights of people in the constitution are declared in article 19 of the constitution which states that “all people of Iran, whatever the ethnic group or tribe to which they belong, enjoy equal rights; and color, race, language, and the like, do not bestow any privilege” (Iran online, 1996). This article clearly does not take gender into consideration as a constituent in human rights. Moreover, while many of Iran’s codified laws such as marriage, divorce and the custody law view women as inferior, Iran’s constitution recognizes women as equal in regard to employment and education, but on a conditional basis. The examples of such conditional laws are:

. article 3 of constitution law of the Islamic Republic of Iran which states that women have the same right as men do in regards to education and employment; however, such right is conditional on women’s primary role as mothers (Noshiravani, 2009); and

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. article 1117 of the civil code of justice states that the husband is entitled to prevent his wife from holding certain jobs which harm the reputation of the family or is against family values (Noshiravani, 2009).

Such conditional laws have become an excuse for an employers’ reluctance to recruit women, especially in public organizations that are ruled and run by the constitution (Vajiheh Zadeh, 2001). Iranian employers have a higher tendency to employ men rather than women (Iravani, 2008) and such discriminative selection, which is somehow supported by the constitution, bases worker recruitment in Iran on gender and not on regulated qualifications. This aspect of ill-structured bureaucracy has made it challenging for women to enter public organizations contributing to the low participation of women in the workforce.

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5.2 Type of authority Weber (1978) viewed domination as the power wielded by a ruler or ruling class, and as a necessary factor in bureaucratic administration, as domination confers authoritative power that one can use to govern the bureaucracy. The legitimization and institutionalization of power in a bureaucratic structure stems from three types of authority: traditional, rational-legal and charismatic (Weber, 1922). Weber argues that each type of authority is appropriate for a distinctive administrative structure and believes that the rational-legal authority is the most appropriate type of authority for the modern bureaucracy (Hilbert, 1987; Scott and Davis, 2007). Unlike traditional authority, which is based on patrimonial systems, rational-legal authority is based on impersonal factors and formal structures (Scott and Davis, 2007). Even though bureaucratic structures in Iran possess some of the characteristics of the ideal type bureaucracy, such as the firmly ordered system of supervisor and subordinate or the appointed bureaucratic official by a superior authority, these structures are still ruled by the traditional form of authority that is mainly based on gerontocracy and patriarchies. As explained by Weber (1922), the rational-legal authority that exists in the ideal type bureaucracy allows subordinates to be more independent and to be guided by their own interpretation of the principles, since obedience is not owed to a person but to a set of impersonal principles (Scott and Davis, 2007). Lacking the rational-legal form of authority in Iranian bureaucracies has resulted in a highly centralized system of decision making in bureaucratic organizations ( Jamshidian, 1994). In the Iranian administrative system almost all the decisions are made by the organization’s manager ( Jamshidian, 1994). Such a highly centralized system of decision making, which is based upon obedience from a person, results in an ill-structured bureaucracy, since those in the position of authority do not tolerate much disagreement or debate ( Javidan and Dastmalchian, 2003). This traditional form of authority has many disadvantages for Iranian women since they have to deal with the personal biases of managers as individuals, as opposed to views based on a set of principles. Since most of the managers, especially in public organizations, are men and women are challenged with the personal stereotypes of these individuals. Many of managers in public organizations still possess the ideology that a woman’s primary role is being a housewife, and they easily dictate such ideology in organizations since they are the main source of authority. This type of discriminative climate in the work environment, which originates from management, makes entrance

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into organizations and career progression quite difficult for Iranian women (Ghorayshi, 1996). Therefore, in order to be successful, Iranian women have to be twice as competent and work twice as hard as men in organizations, unless they are related to the elite families (Zahedi, 2003). They also must wait a long time to attain managerial positions and have to watch men pass them along the way (Zahedi, 2003). Thus, authorities are in traditional forms rather than rational-legal forms, leading to the divergence of Iranian bureaucratic structures from the ideal type. This aspect of ill- structured bureaucracies in Iran makes it difficult for women to enter and progress in public organizations since they have to obey managers as individuals who are usually very biased toward women.

5.3 Management of modern office Another characteristic of the ideal bureaucracy is that the management of the modern office is based upon written and legal documents (Weber, 1922). In Iranian bureaucracies, despite the existence of documented regulations, they are frequently disobeyed or are not executed ( Jamshidian, 1994). Managers in public organizations do not obey the rules on a consistent basis and rely on bribery and relationship-oriented procedures (Jamshidian, 1994). An example of this disobedience can be found in the low salaries of Iranian women, despite the existence of documented regulations. Based on article 38 of the Labor Law of the Islamic Republic, women’s and men’s base salaries have to be the same and no woman’s base salary should be lower than her male counterpart (Safiri, 2006). However, based on the United Nations Development Program (2010), the gender gap in terms of income in Iran was as high as 56.32 percent in 2003. The main reason for such difference has roots in the gender ideology. Such ideology does not consider women as breadwinners and therefore married women with children do not receive the same base salary, allowances and benefits as married men with children (Romstami Povey, 2004). Furthermore, despite the existence of documented regulation regarding equal pay, the gender ideology overrules such regulation making the management of modern office based on ideology and not the documented regulations. In cases where rules and regulations are not discriminating against women, they are frequently disobeyed since the management of office is not based on written and legal documents, but based on managers’ discretion or ideology. This aspect of ill-structured bureaucracy in Iranian public organizations makes working for public organizations an option with small economic value for women and is perhaps among the reasons for Iranian women’s tendency toward self-employment.

6. Occupational segregation in Iranian workforce Other than the bureaucratic division of labor, the occupational segregation in many societies has impacted women’s choice of preferences, values and attitudes in their occupational decisions (Sneed, 2007). Many occupations are still “gendered,” meaning that some occupations are known to be suitable for men and some are suitable for women (Acker, 1989). For example, repairing cars is considered to be appropriate for men while providing childcare services is considered more appropriate for women (Gutek, 1995). Division of labor provides the ground for legitimating the exclusion of women from specific workforce areas and leads to devaluation of women’s work (Kuhlmann and Bourgeault, 2008). Based on gender role theory, occupational segregation results from people developing expectations for other’s behavior based on their belief about the behavior

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that is suitable for women and men (Eagly, 1987). Based on this theory, masculinity is compatible with agentic qualities and femininity is compatible with communal qualities (Eagly, 1987; Rosener, 1990; Williams and Best, 1990). Agentic qualities are characterized by aggressiveness, dominance, self-reliance and decisiveness while communal qualities are characterized by emotional expressiveness, empathy, caring and affection (Ochieng Walumbwa et al. , 2004). Therefore, the expected appropriate occupations for men are those characterized by agentic qualities (e.g. repairing cars) while for women such occupations are those characterized by the communal qualities (e.g. teaching). Occupational segregation not only limits occupational opportunities for both women and men, but it also reinforces gender-based stereotypes. Occupational segregation, particularly in government employment, results in assigning individuals to jobs not on the basis of their capability to perform that job but on the basis of their gender (Reskin and Hartmann, 1986). Like their counterparts all around the world, Iranian women also suffer from occupational segregation and struggle with gendered division of labor, but in a different manner. After the Islamic revolution in 1979, Iranian women lost their legal rights to possess several positions such as judges and presidents (Kar, 2010). At the same time, women’s major participation in public organizations began to increase. The devastated post Iraq-Iran war economy compelled the state to allow more women to enter the labor market (Noshiravani, 2009), and since then the government has remained the main employer of women in Iran (Ghorayshi, 1996). While many jobs were removed after the revolution in the private sector, the expansion of state bureaucracies created new jobs for women in the government (Ghorayshi, 1996). However, these jobs are mainly low-paid, low-skilled sales and office-based occupations, and teaching and health services (Ghorayshi, 1996). Research by Alizadeh and Harper (2003) shows that after the Islamic revolution, the index of dissimilarity for occupational segregation increased from 14 percent in 1976 to 31 percent in 1996; meaning that the dissimilarity between occupations held by men and women increased. With the exception of clerical and service related professions, most of the other occupations in Iran are now male dominated (Alizadeh and Harper, 2003). The theories of occupational segregation have classified three causes for occupational segmentation (Sneed, 2007). Based on the first set of theories, occupational segmentation results from women’s and men’s individual choices (Kelly, 1991). The second set argues that labor markets and organizational discrimination are responsible for the occupational segregation of women, and the last set of theories focus on systematic barriers, such as structural patterns, as the cause of occupational segregation (Kelly, 1991). In regards to the causes of occupational segregation in Iran, perhaps all these theories are applicable. In other words, occupational segregation in Iran has roots in factors ranging from individual choices to organizational structures, the labor market and government rules and regulations. Due to organizational discrimination and societal stereotypes, some Iranian women may prefer to stay home or hold careers that are perceived more positively by the public. For example, as Ghorayshi (1996) mentions, women working in offices face the highest disapproval from their families and the society while those in teaching receive the most support. This may be a reason why many women prefer to obtain teaching jobs. Moreover, the government regulations have greatly impacted the occupational segregation in Iran. The set of employment policies passed in 1992 ruled out certain

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occupations and professions for women since they were recognized as inappropriate based on Islamic values (Alizadeh et al., 2000). The purpose of these policies was to assure that women became skilled workers in the fields exclusive to women (Bahramitash, 2003). For example, a set of barriers were established based on these policies in order to prevent women from becoming civil engineers, and some advantages were offered to women to encourage them to become gynecologists and pediatricians (Bahramitash, 2003). Women all around the world suffer from occupational segregation, which results from the society’s definition and categorization of the occupations that are suitable for men and women. Iranian women suffer from such a challenge even more since in many cases, in addition to society expectations, occupational segregation is created by rules and regulations. The extreme occupational segregation limits Iranian women’s career choices resulting in lower participation of women in the workforce.

7. Discussion Iranian women’s contribution to the public and private sector of the economy is essential (Romstami Povey, 2004). Iranian organizations could benefit from women’s high level expertise and the different experiences they bring to the workforce. Currently, more than 65 percent of university entrants in Iran are women (Iran Statistics Centre, 2009). As the second largest oil producer in the organization of the petroleum exporting countries, Iranian private and government organizations can benefit from the knowledge women can bring to organizations after leaving school to enter the workforce. Ultimately, Iranian women’s participation in the workforce brings flexibility and creativity into the work place, leading to the creation of more opportunities for organizations. The existence of ill-structured bureaucracies and the occupational segregation have made Iranian women’s career progression very slow. As mentioned throughout our discussion, the limitations in place by laws and government regulations are among the major setback for Iranian women’s career development. The solution to this problem relies on the existence of democracy. It is through a representative democracy that democratic laws, which are fair to all people, are set up by the legislators and the execution of these laws is assured (Hook, 2010). Having the proper laws in place and ensuring that those laws are rightfully executed can create the basis for the ideal type bureaucracy in Iran. Moreover, as mentioned throughout the paper, in many cases the right rules and laws are in place, but are not adhered to. In order to reach the ideal type of bureaucracy, it is important for Iranian organizations to follow the rules in place. Unfortunately, the high levels of corruption, mismanagement of economic issues and the low motivation of employees and employers in Iranian public organizations has led to the continuation of ill-structured bureaucracies which are more disadvantageous to women than to men. Excluding laws that limit women’s career choices and adhering to the “rules of law” instead of “rules of men” will help increase Iranian women’s participation in the workforce. While having ideal type bureaucracies in public organizations may increase the participation of women in the workforce, it is does not guarantee the disappearance of gender inequalities. As mentioned in the United Nations Development Report for Iran (2010), gender-related issues need to be considered over all stages of development in Iran. In order to do so, the role and participation of women in the development process

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needs to be highlighted and barriers need to be removed to encourage their full participation in the workforce (United Nations Development Program, 2010). The increasing public engagement of females has made Iranian women strong in their demands for change in many aspects of their lives (Bahramitash, 2003), but their participation in the workforce is still at the minimal level. Having more women in the workforce provides younger Iranian women, who are mostly highly educated, with more role models to follow. The increase of role models also improves the social acceptance of women’s work among Iranian women and families which lead to more participation of women in workforce. Studies based on the gender-centered perspective relate women’s slow progression in the workforce to internal factors, while studies based on the organization structure perspective focus on the limitations in place for women based on the organization’s structure (Fagenson, 1990). In conducting research on women’s career development in Iran, one cannot rely solely on the behavior patterns of women or only on the organization structure. As previously discussed, being oppressed in many aspects of their lives have forced Iranian women to develop behaviors and personality traits that prevent them from progressing in their careers. Therefore, an alternative perspective, called the “gender- organization-system” perspective, can offer a better instrument for analyzing women’s career development in Iran. Such a perspective suggests that women’s limited career progression is due to their individual factors as well as the organizational context, which includes organization structure, culture, policies, history and ideology (Fagenson, 1990). Thus, in conducting further research on women’s careers in Iran, there is a need for a detailed examination of women’s individual factors as well as each aspect of the organizational context. Further studies can also examine how the educational policies in Iran has contributed to the occupational segregation the society suffers from. While the rate of higher education is exceptionally high among Iranian women, educational polices of Islamic Republic have limited women’s choices in education. Women are banned from studying certain engineering majors or majors which are considered as “inappropriate” for women in many Iranian universities. In addition, future research can examine how such discriminative educational polices impact Iranian women’s careers and their participation in the workforce. Moreover, as previously mentioned, more than half of Iranian women in workforce are self-employed. Obviously, the issues discussed in this research explain, to some extent, why Iranian women choose starting their own businesses over general employment. Further research can look more into these necessity driven entrepreneurs examining the challenges they face and the strategies they implement to survive in a business context where private markets are not supported.

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8. Conclusion Even though Iranian women’s increasing level of education has created more opportunities for them to enter the workforce, they still face several barriers in their career development. The ill-structured forms of bureaucracies, especially in public organizations, are among the primary barriers for Iranian women. Bureaucratic structures in Iran are still far from what Weber identified as the ideal type bureaucracy and divergence from this ideal type especially in regards to recruitment, forms of authority and the management of office has created more difficulties for women in workplace. Occupational segregation is also a major barrier in the career progression

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of Iranian women. This phenomenon has left women with careers not compatible with their level of knowledge and expertise, but is acceptable in the eye of the society and the families of women. As long as such restrictions in the division of labor exist, Iranian women will continue to face several challenges in their career development. Eliminating these barriers can increase Iranian women’s participation in the workforce, which is not only beneficial to women, but also to the society as a whole. Given the high level of education and engagement in entrepreneurial activity of women in Iran, the nation’s bureaucracy, due to its exclusion of women, may fail to benefit from the potential contributions of this demographic. The inability of women to gain employment within the Iranian bureaucracy forces them to utilize their talents in the private economy, instead of contributing their talents to the development of the economic system. Iranian women’s participation in the society (e.g. in higher education) in recent years has increased gender consciousness among Iranians (Romstami Povey, 2004) and their increasing participation in the workforce can eventually remove the barriers put in place by patriarchal systems. The replacement of the existing ill-structured bureaucracy in Iran with one that closely resembles Weber’s (1922) ideal type bureaucracy, coupled with the elimination of occupational segregation, can impact the economic viability of Iran by increasing the overall participation of women in the public sector. Given the news media’s fixation on the struggle for equal rights among citizens in Middle Eastern countries, any progress toward improving the participations rates of Iranian women in the labor force will bode well for the perception of the country as seen by other nations across the globe. This may lead to a subsequent boost in economic activity as nations once refraining from trade with Iran may reconsider their decision due to the perceived efforts to ensure equality for women in Iran. While the focus of our discussion is directed toward Iranian women and how ill-structured bureaucracies impact them, the influence of bureaucracies is experienced by women across the globe. In developing and developed nations alike, women are largely underrepresented within private and public sector institutions. Although modern bureaucratic structures have remained dominant, serving as the organizational form of many governmental institutions, these structures have led to imbalances and inequality in terms of women’s representation. Women have also faced issues such as occupational segregation across various geographic contexts, leading to the underrepresentation of women, particularly in fields related to STEM. While nations similar to Iran may embrace regulations that hinder the involvement of women, modern democracies do not support similar regulations, but yet the issue of gender representation remains. In general, we are in support of bureaucracies, but we also believe that the existing processes and procedures of these structures should evolve in order to reduce discriminatory effects on women. As scholars gain an improved understanding of bureaucracies, identifying methods to reduce the discriminatory effects of the structures is critical to reaching improved representation and equality for women around the world.

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About the authors Golshan Javadian is a Management PhD Candidate in the Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management at Morgan State University. Her research focus is on women entrepreneurship, women in workforce, gender stereotypes and psychology of entrepreneurship. Golshan Javadian is the corresponding author and can be contacted at: gojav2@morgan.edu Isaac Y. Addae is currently pursuing a PhD in Management in the Earl G. Graves School of Business and Management at Morgan State University. His research interests focus on the intersection of technology and entrepreneurship, in relation to the role of social networks in opportunity recognition. Isaac’s career experience spans various industries, including companies such as IBM, Ford Motor Company, Raytheon and Booz Allen Hamilton.

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