• Informal networks in employee selection- A case of the Jordanian banking sector

      Ali, Sa'ad; Raiden, Ani; Kirk, Susan; University of Worcester; Nottingham Trent University (2017-06-23)
      Social networks and social capital have emerged as concepts of great interest and potential to help understand and explain how social structures impact political, social and business practices at the collective and individual levels. The basic premise is: investment in social relations will yield expected returns. Existing research has largely focused on the West; our knowledge of how social capital plays out in the Middle East is limited. This paper explores the prevalent practice of ‘wasta’ through the social capital lens, namely bonding and bridging social capital, and investigate HR managers’ perceptions of wasta in employment selection in Jordan. Often use of wasta in employment selection is related to favouritism and nepotism and the many negative outcomes of not adhering to merit-based selection. However, through in-depth interview data a more nuanced and multifaceted view of wasta in employment selection is revealed and how these impact HR practice in the organisation.
    • Social capital in Jordan: wasta in employment selection

      Sa'ad, Ali; Raiden, A; Kirk, S; University of Worcester; Nottingham Trent University (2015)
      Social capital has emerged as a concept of great interest and potential to help understand and explain how social structures and networks impact political, social and business practices at the collective and individual levels. The basic premise is: investment in social relations will yield expected returns. Extant research has largely focused on the West; our knowledge of how social capital plays out in the Middle East is limited. We marry social capital with ‘wasta’, the strong family and tribal based connections secured in networks in the Arab world, and investigate HR managers’ perceptions of wasta in employment selection in Jordan. Often use of wasta in employment selection is related to favouritism and nepotism and the many negative outcomes of not adhering to merit-based selection. Through in-depth interview data we reveal a more nuanced and multifaceted view of wasta in employment selection. When examined through the social capital lens six distinct themes emerge: (i) wasta as an enabler to get jobs, (ii) wasta as social ties/ solidarity, (iii) wasta as a method to transfer/ attain information, (iv) wasta as a guide in decision-making, (v) wasta as an exchange, and (vi) wasta as pressure. Our findings confirm that at times wasta grants individuals unfair access to employment that is beyond their qualifications, skills, knowledge and/ or abilities. However, organisational context is relevant. In banking, not all roles are open to wasta. Where the possible negative impact on the organisation poses too great a risk HR managers feel able to resist even strong wasta. Context also emerges as being of key importance with regards to the background and business model of an organisation. Family businesses tend to operate wasta more frequently and extensively using tribal connections, religious networks and geographical area based networks as a key source in hiring. Despite globalisation and international nature of banking, wasta and tribalism feature strongly in daily business conduct in Jordan. Our paper illuminates the positive effects of wasta, e.g.as a method to transfer information, together with discussion on the dangers of ‘cloning’, a (lack of diversity), and the dangers of an incompetent workforce
    • The social marketing paradox: challenges and opportunities for the discipline

      Akbar, Bilal; Foote, Liz; Lawson, Alison; French, Jeff; Deshpande, Sameer; Lee, Nancy, R.; Nottingham Trent University; Antioch University New England, NH, Keene, USA; University of Derby; Strategic Social Marketing Ltd, London; et al. (Springer, 2021-08-22)
      This paper contributes to emerging discourse about the ongoing challenges and opportunities of social marketing as a discipline. The paper presents a qualitative perspective on existing challenges faced by social marketing and offers suggestions for addressing these challenges. Nine semi-structured interviews with social marketing academics and practitioners from six different countries were conducted. Thematic analysis was used to analyse and interpret the qualitative data. The study provides insight into existing challenges for social marketing, classified into three key themes according to their position within or outside of the discipline: 1) poor branding of the discipline as an internal challenge, 2) competing disciplines as an external challenge, and 3) overall reach of the discipline, seen as both an internal and external challenge. The findings suggest that social marketing needs to overcome poor branding issues to sufficiently address external challenges. We conclude by arguing for a more robust marketing of the discipline. While scholars have identified the challenges and opportunities for social marketing as a discipline, they have paid little attention to examining these challenges from the viewpoint of expert practitioners and academics. This paper presents a nuanced contextual understanding of the identified challenges through a qualitative perspective and explores how social marketing can overcome these challenges.
    • Social Marketing: Advancing a New Planning Framework to Guide Programmes

      Akbar, M Bilal; Ndupu, Lawrence; French, Jeff; Lawson, Alison; Nottingham Trent University; University of Derby; Strategic Social Marketing Ltd, London (Emerald, 2021-05-31)
      This paper develops and presents a new planning framework of social marketing, known as CSD-IES (Consumer Research, Segmentation, Design of the Social Programme, Implementation, Evaluation and Sustainability). The proposed framework is based on recent theoretical developments in social marketing and is informed by the key strengths of existing social marketing planning approaches. The CSD-IES planning framework incorporates emerging principles of social marketing. For example, sustainability in changed behaviour, ethical considerations in designing social marketing programmes, the need for continuous research to understand the changing needs of the priority audience during the programme, and the need for explicit feedback mechanisms. Research Implications – The CSD-IES framework is a dynamic and flexible framework that guides social marketers, other practitioners, and researchers to develop, implement, and evaluate effective and sustainable social marketing programmes to influence or change specific behaviours based on available resources. This paper makes an important contribution to social marketing theory and practice by integrating elements of behaviour maintenance, consideration of ethical perspectives and continuous feedback mechanisms in developing the CSD-IES framework, bringing it in line with the global consensus definition of social marketing.
    • Using social capital to secure employment – wasta in the Jordanian banking sector

      Ali, Sa'ad; Kirk, S; Riaden, A; University of Worcester; Nottingham Trent University (2017)
      This paper set out to address the gap in our knowledge on how social capital impacts the employee selection process in banks operating in Jordan. Bonding and bridging social capital are used to explore the prevalent practice of ‘wasta’ in Jordan. the preliminary analysis of 17 in-depth interviews highlights two uses of wasta in employee selection. Namely, the use of wasta as a guide for employers in the decision to hire and the use of wasta as a pressure mechanism by candidates to attain employment in specific organisations. Previous research often associates wasta with the negative outcomes of not adhering to merit-based selection such as reduced workforce diversity, lack of employee engagement, and the lost opportunity cost from hiring unqualified candidates based their social connections. However, the interviewees signpost some positive uses of wasta such as its ability to confirm information about the candidate and his/ her fit with organisation’s culture prior to employment.