University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Social Capital in Jordan: The Impact of Wasta on Employee Selection in Banks Operating in Jordan

Ali, Sa'ad (2016) Social Capital in Jordan: The Impact of Wasta on Employee Selection in Banks Operating in Jordan. PhD thesis, Nottingham Trent University.

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This thesis explores the practice of intercessory wasta; the strong family and tribal-based connections secured in networks in the Arab world. In doing so the social capital lens, particularly bonding and bridging social capital, is adopted as the main lens to investigate HRM, recruitment and selection, and line managers’ perceptions of the impact of wasta on employment selection in Jordan. Identity research, namely social identity theory, social categorisation theory and role identity theory, is used to extend on and critique social capital theory as the main theoretical lens in exploring wasta. Often the use of wasta in employee selection is related to favouritism and nepotism and the many negative outcomes of not adhering to merit-based selection. The researcher adopts a qualitative and interpretivist approach in conducting and analysing seventeen in-depth interviews in fourteen case study banks operating in Jordan.
By being the first research to explore the impact of wasta on employee selection in banks operating in Jordan using the social capital as the main theoretical lens, particularly bonding and bridging social capital, this thesis contributes to knowledge in respect of social capital and wasta.
It was found that, contrary to the general premise that social capital is beneficial for both job seekers and organisations when utilised in employee selection, wasta has both positive and negative outcomes depending on the way the intermediary is used. On the one hand wasta can be used by calling on a powerful intermediary who can help grant individuals unfair access to employment that is beyond their qualifications, skills, knowledge and abilities. Wasta can also be used as part of an exchange process where individuals can be employed in exchange for a present or future benefit bestowed on the organisation or the decision maker by the intermediary. Organisational context is relevant in this respect however. In banking, not all roles are open to wasta. Where the possible negative impact on the organisation poses too great a risk decision makers feel able to resist even strong wasta. Importantly the findings also highlight some positive uses of wasta. These emerged mainly in the context of wasta as a method to transfer information over structural holes between the organisation and the job seeker.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:

A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of Nottingham Trent University for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. December 2016.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: wasta, social capital, Jordan, employee selection, employment, intercessory wasta, banking, job seekers
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > Worcester Business School
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Saad Ali
Date Deposited: 21 Mar 2017 08:30
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:16

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