Date of Conferral







Robin Friedman


Saudi women have higher rates of graduation from college than their male counterparts, but are underrepresented as employees in the private higher education sector. Saudi women working in higher education report a lack of involvement in the planning of their work, challenges in balancing family and career, and low wages. Yet, no research has explored how Saudi women in administrative support staff positions in private universities perceive control and how their perceptions of control affect their engagement in the workplace. Therefore, based on locus of control theory, the 2-process model of perceived control, and compensatory control theory, the purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the lived experiences of Saudi women administrative support staff working in private universities regarding the phenomena of workplace control and engagement. Ten female administrative support staff were selected using purposive and snowball sampling. Semistructured interviews were used to explore the lived experience of control for Saudi women administrative support staff and how their experiences influence engagement. The data were analyzed using Moustakas's steps to the phenomenological process. Eight core themes emerged from the data, including supervision and guidance, social relationships and connections, time, lack of predictability, adjustment of self to fit the environment, self-development and inner transformations, having a voice, and cultural conditioning of women's social roles. The implications for positive social change include raising awareness among management, human resources, and training specialists in private higher education of Saudi women's perceptions of control and engagement in the workplace.