• Exploring informal weak tie bonded social networks through a multi-level theoretical lens

      Weir, David; Ali, Sa'ad; York St John's University; University of Derby (2020-07-03)
      In this paper we are chiefly concerned with a desired focus on “co-evolution of networks and organizational attributes, such as innovation introduce a third type of approach to network dynamics that deals with existing networks that are self-regulating, , self-balancing, tend to be self-reproducing and can handle issues of uncertainty and complexity: for instance informal social networks of the type covered Wasta in the Arab Middle East ,Guanxi in the Chinese world and Blat in Russia (Ali and Weir, 2019). In Arab countries “Wasta” describes networks rooted in family and kinship ties, used to bypass formal bureaucratic procedures easing the process of achieving a goal through connections (Cunningham and Sarayrah, 1993; Hutchings and Weir, 2006a; Hutchings and Weir, 2006b; Smith et al., 2012). Wasta is also known as Ma’arifa or Piston, in North African nations such as Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco (Iles, 2012; Smith et al., 2012b). While these phenomena have been increasingly written about over the past decade (Smith et al., 2012a; Smith et al., 2012b; Velez-Calle et al., 2015; Horak and Taube, 2016; Weir et al., 2016; Ali and Weir, 2019), the emphasis of Western researchers has tended to be critical even dismissive characterising these phenomena as at best stages in the evolution of developing business systems of interest only in the Third World of underdeveloped societies (Loewe et al., 2008) or more pejoratively as inadequate or deviant versions of other approaches to Network Dynamics that derive from the received wisdoms of the classical approaches central to liberal market, rational economic actor paradigms at the heart of western business analysis. The results of these framings are a consensual depiction in some writings of Wasta processes as “favouritism”, “pull”, “corruption” and similar negative portrayals (Ali, 2016; Ali, Weir et al., 2016; Ali and Weir, 2019). The default possibility that these negative emergences are also to be found in other cultures for example of the USA, Europe and the UK tends not to be seriously examined as nor does the implication that the actual experienced present in all its imperfectabilities may be a safer place to start the analysis than deductive essays based on a perfect but unattainable social order as represented by the mainstream rational actor framings. As such, this paper focuses on Wasta as an case study to explore how studying such informal social networks using a multi theoretical lens can expand our understanding of this phenomena and informal social networks in general enabling us to achieve a holistic view of the network linking the structural aspects with the actors of the network which this track calls for.
    • Impact of gender on use of wasta among human resources management practitioners

      Alsarhan, Fadi; Ali, Sa'ad; Weir, David; Valax, Marc; Université de Lyon, Jean Moulin, iaelyon, Magellan, Lyon, France; University of Derby; Huddersfield University; York St John University; IAE Nice, Nice, France (Wiley, 2020-12-14)
      The practice of wasta dominates all aspects of Arabs’ lives; it is a parallel inegalitarian system that categorizes people according to their connections. One of the epicenters of wasta is human resources management (HRM). This paper studies the concept of wasta in the Arab world by examining its use in HRM according to gender, in the case of the Jordanian public sector. Results obtained from 27 semi-structured interviews of HR managers indicate that though wasta is an important feature of HRM in general, there is a notable discrepancy between male and female employees, with the former displaying higher tendencies for using wasta than the latter. An explanation for this finding is the prevalent masculine nature of Jordanian society, which entails social caveats related to the traditional role of women. Professional determinants, such as gendered job segregation and variance in qualifications, also affect men’s and women’s access to wasta
    • Wasta in Jordanian banking: An emic approach to a culture-specific concept of social networking and its power-implications

      Ali, Sa'ad; Weir, David; University of Worcester (Routledge, 2019-11-07)
      This chapter reviews the background and cultural implications of wasta business networking in the Jordanian banking sector. The chapter starts with exploring this practice, its origin and its use in Jordanian society and business context, highlighting how wasta is often viewed with an etic approach by its researchers and related to concepts such as corruption and favouritism. The wider context of wasta in Jordan is explored and wasta is viewed with an emic approach, drawing on insights from 17 interviews in the case of Jordanian banking sector. A more balanced exploration of wasta is offered, drawing on the role of identity and power in wasta practice and highlighting its possible benefits and drawbacks in employee selection. Reflexive considerations of using wasta to research wasta and the authors’ insider/outsider statuses are discussed and recommendations to students, researchers and practitioners are offered.
    • Wasta: Advancing a holistic model to bridge the micro-macro divide

      Ali, Sa'ad; Weir, David; University of Derby; York St John's University (Cambridge University Press, 2020-07-21)
      This paper offers a synthesis of understandings of Wasta, seen as a form of social network prevalent in the Arab Middle East. Whilst there has been increasing interest in this practice, research remains fragmented and has been criticised for its limited theoretical rigor. To address this issue, a systematic review of peer-reviewed journal articles exploring Wasta published between 1993 and 2019 was conducted. The authors analysed the identified papers according to the theoretical lens from which Wasta was viewed, creating a bridge between a theoretical focus on the macro aspect of Wasta and an alternative focus on its micro aspects, leading to the development of a holistic model of Wasta. The model also helps us to understand the complexity of Wasta, both as the network itself and as the social ties that exist among its members, and sheds light on the complex nature of the role and interactions of the Waseet. The findings respond to calls for more holistic and inclusive research to inform social networks research and bridge the micro–macro divide. The paper offers recommendations to future researchers to build on the holistic and emic approach to Wasta research adopted here.
    • Wasta: advancing a holistic model to bridge the micro-macro divide in network studies

      Weir, David; Ali, Sa'ad; York St John's University; University of Derby (2020-09)
    • Wasta: towards an integrated approach

      Ali, Sa'ad; Weir, David; University of Worcester; York St John University (2019-06)