Many societies are changing at a very high rate in the modern world. This has been triggered by the increasing rate of globalization, which has transformed the world into a global village. The changes taking place in the society has also been triggered by the improvement in the level of technology. Due to these developments, different societies have become more integrated hence triggering the change process.
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Despite of this integration, there still remain many factors that have been hindering the change process in the society. In Saudi Arabia, change has been taking place at a slow rate due to the obstacles that tends to discourage people from accepting change. Social change significantly depends on the will of individuals to accept change.
Although some people accept change easily, it has been discovered that something inside them will always tempt them to reject change. Over the past years, several studies have been conducted on change taking place in the society. However, little attention has been paid as to why people reject change.
People tend to oppose change rather than the change process. People may be willing to undergo the change process but they reject change.
The rate at which the society accommodates change is determined by how the people are receptive to change. Since changes in society come along with transformations of the existing systems, members of the society do not easily accept change. People will always be reluctant to leave their original way of life.
Over the world history, it has been observed that many changes in the society have taken place through dictates of the government. Majority of people are not always ready to accept change naively. In other words, change in many societies has been faced by a number of obstacles that has resulted in an extremely slow rate of change. In some cases, a small group of elites may induce change in the society that comes along with cultural innovation.
One of the major obstacles that are posing a significant barrier to change in Saudi is the gender inequality. Gender inequality is one of the major obstacles that have been hindering change in many societies. For instance, majority of the Saudis are still clinging on the misconception that men and women should not work side by side.
Many men in Saudi Arabia, for instance, could not be satisfied by being interviewed by a woman (Butters, 2009). This is because women are looked down upon by a significant section of the society. Many people are still convinced that women are incapable and that they should not be given critical positions in the society.
This poses a major barrier to change in Saudi Arabia. Most of men in Saudi Arabia, for instance, are surprised to see a woman holding a position of authority (Butters, 2009). Such people pose a major barrier to changes in the society because they tend to be conservative. They are irritated by any slight change in the society.
Although women are gradually getting to top positions in the society, this is taking place at a very slow pace. The rights of women and men still remain significantly different. For instance, the few women who are managers of Shura do not have equal voting rights with their fellow men (Butters, 2009). Therefore, their chance to make contributions and views is limited.
Naturally, man is suspicious and tends to refrain from adopting new things like technology, beliefs, relationships, methods, systems or behavior (Sharma, 1997). People will therefore tend to conserve their old ways of life, customs, and traditions.
They can only accept change if they are adequately educated on the need for change in order to convince them on the importance of such changes to the society. Although they are sometimes convinced to accept the change process, they may be reluctant to accept change.
Culture is one of the strongest forces that direct people’s behavior in the society. People are usually directed by their cultural arrangements in their day to day activities.
Cultural aspects are difficult to change especially in the society that is led by ethnocentrism, that is, the society where people believes that their culture is superior to others. The people tend to uphold their values and superiority of their culture. In such a community, it becomes very difficult to facilitate change.
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In Saudi Arabia, culture is the major factor that is posing a foremost barrier to changes in the society. Saudis usually tend to conserve their traditional ways of life. They are determined to retain their existing beliefs and customs. People are also determined to retain their religious beliefs.
As a result, significant changes in the society have been blocked. As a result of deep cultural entrenchment, people restrains from trying new things in order to avoid losing their face. Therefore, people are determined to follow the existing arrangements in order to avoid any kind of embarrassment that can result in them losing face.
Closely related to cultural factors are people’s values. Most people in the society are usually led by prejudice in judging change. Majority use their already internalized traditions in judging the outcomes. In Saudi, people’s values have posed a major obstacle to the social change. In this case, even when the change is advantageous to the entire society, people are always seeing the negative side of it.
For instance, instead of seeing the development contributions that will be achieved by empowering women, men are forced to believe that empowering women is undermining men. In this case, their decisions are led by prejudice rather than fairness.
Traditionalism convinces the people to believe that everything that takes place in the society is the will of supernatural powers and that it cannot be changed. This conviction has posed a major barrier to the social change (Tarnate, 2011). Through such convictions, people are forced to believe that the existing arrangements cannot be changed by human effort. This belief has obstructed the change in the Saudi Arabian society.
Through traditionalism, many people are forced to believe that they cannot facilitate change in the organisation. For example, many women are convinced that they don’t have the capability to get equal rights with the men. This has undermined the change process in Saudi.
Cultural backgrounds pose a major obstruction to change in the Saudi Arabia society. Culture is one of the main factors that have a strong influence in the society. It is a powerful determinant of the social change.
Most Saudi Arabian rulers are using religion as an excuse for the slow pace of the social change in Saudi Arabia (Butters, 2009). For instance, most religious views are denying women the opportunity to attain opportunities equal to those enjoyed by men. This has been a mentality passed from one generation to another.
The above discussion has clearly revealed that culture plays a pivotal role in obstructing change in the society. In order for change to take place effectively, society must be ready to renew its cultural aspects. Similarly, there is a need for culture change in Saudi in order to promote social change in the country. However, cultural changes in the society usually take place slowly.
According to Sharma (1997), cultural change usually begins by a small fraction of the society realizing that they are unable to meet certain cultural expectations. Change in a certain cultural background can be effected through a number of ways. First, a group or an individual who has been adversely affected by a certain stress builds an idealized image of a culture goal that usually contrasts the existing arrangements (Foley, 2010).
The individual then communicates the idea to others especially those who are adversely affected by the situation. For instance, this may be a certain marginalized group in the society where the social arrangements and requirements may be too demanding for them. In Saudi, women are one of the marginalized groups in the society. Women are denied equal opportunities with men.
This have put pressure in a certain fraction especially the educated women who has been denied opportunities because of their gender. This has resulted in gender equality movements whose main aim is to promote gender equity. The most affected group has been communicating to others to advocate for change.
However, this is taking place at very slow rate in Saudi Arabia (Butters, 2009). Once communication takes place, a group advocating for change in the society organizes itself and attracts the people who are converted to accept the new ideas.
In case the organized group gets adequate support from the society, the change is then implemented effectively. However, this is not always the case. When the organized change in culture is rejected significantly, culture transfer takes place instead.
In Saudi Arabia, lack of support from the society is the major factor that is undermining change. Although various groups like women movements are organized to promote change in Saudi Arabia, the process usually fails due to lack of adequate support. Therefore, change in Saudi has been taking place at an extremely slow rate.
In Saudi, the society has been dominated by conservatism. This has characterized many institutions; the fact that has obstructed the change process.
Some social arrangements are opposing to the change process. In Saudi, people are grouped into two groups, the ruling class and the working class. This system has to some extent been denying people democracy. Therefore, these arrangements must be restructured in order to promote change in the society.
Political barrier is another form of barriers that are hindering change in Saudi. These involve institutions like the forms of state, politics, power, and the nature of government (Haddad and Esposito, 1998). For instance, the Saudi Arabia government has been acting very slowly to the issue of gender inequality. The government has not effectively dealt with the issue of gender inequality.
Although women can now access powerful positions, they are denied equal powers with their fellow men in the same level. Some forms of politics are hindering the change process. For the society to experience change, these institutions must be changed.
Economic factors are another category of obstacles that pose a major challenge to social change in Saudi Arabia. Unemployment and poverty are the key factors that hinder the change in the society. In Saudi, the rich and the capitalists are a major obstacle to change. In most cases, this group has the fear that any change in the society will undermine their interests.
Therefore, such people will always defend the existing systems because they are beneficial to them. In order to eliminate this problem, the government must be in a position to promote equality among the people by promoting equal access to economic resources. The government must also promote education for all the people. This will promote equality among the people.
Problems in communication are also another possible factor that hinders change within the society. This has to do with the language. For instance, words or phrases that mean good in one society may have an opposite meaning in another. Difference in perception is also another factor that has hindered change in the Saudi Arabian society. Different people are led by unique perceptions.
In this case, it becomes very difficult for such people to reach to a consensus. Differences in perceptions have also led to incompatibility of the domestic values with the foreign values. In Saudi Arabia, people have their unique perceptions that significantly determine their actions.
Therefore, the process of change has been very slow. People are not easily receptive to foreign values because they have their own perceptions. For instance, people tend to strictly resist foreign values that oppose their perceptions.
Promoting change in Saudi Arabia
Despite of the many factors that has been hindering change in Saudi Arabia, several measures has been undertaken in order to promote change in the country. For instance, the government is encouraging change by expanding education availability to both men and women.
The government has also been organizing programs to protect the women and children from domestic abuse. The human right activists and feminists in Saudi Arabia are also promoting change although at a very slow rate.
In order to promote the necessary change in Saudi’s society, it is important to educate the society on the need for adopting new arrangements. For instance, people can be advised on the importance of promoting equal gender opportunities in order to optimize on social benefits. Such efforts will promote cultural changes in the Saudi’s society.
This discussion has clearly revealed the obstacles that face the Saudi’s society to accept change. One of the major factors that are obstructing change in the society is culture. People are not ready to accept the new technologies, customs, and beliefs that tend to go against the existing arrangements. This has significantly undermined change in the Saudi’s society.
This discussion has also revealed that the society will always tend to retain the existing traditions and customs. These perceptions in Saudi have significantly undermined changes in the society. Although some changes are taking place gradually in the society, they are taking place at a very slow rate.
However, change can be promoted by educating the people on the need for change in the society. This will help them to realize the importance of replacing the new systems, traditions, and other cultural aspects with the new ones.
Butters, A. (2009). Saudi’s Small Steps. The International South Pacific Edition, 174 (15), 22.
Foley, S. (2010). Gender and Social Change in the Twenty-First Century Gulf. Web.
Haddad, Y. and Esposito, J. (1998). Islam, Gender, & Social Change. New York: Oxford University Press.
Sharma, R.K. (1997). Social Changes and Social Control. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers & Dist.
Tarnate, J.L. (2011). Stimulants and Barriers of Social Change. Web.