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The importance of wasta in the career success of Middle Eastern managers

Hayfaa Tlaiss (University of New Brunswick, St John, Canada)
Saleema Kauser (Manchester Business School, Manchester, UK)

Journal of European Industrial Training

ISSN: 0309-0590

Article publication date: 7 June 2011



Frequently used in fostering the career progression of individuals this paper aims to explore the concept of wasta and its significance in the career advancement of individuals in the Middle Eastern region. The paper also seeks to compare wasta with networking and mentoring.


The argument is based on relevant literature, the authors' own knowledge through conducting research in the Arab world, informal interviews and survey data conducted across the Middle Eastern Region.


The research clearly shows that on balance wasta remains traditional in its influence in the career advancement of individuals and business life and social life and is unlikely to diminish in the near future, despite the perception that it is an unfair practice. Wasta also displays similarities and differences with networking and mentoring.

Research implications/limitations

Fundamental knowledge on wasta is limited precluding reliable conclusions on how wasta compares with networking and mentoring. Further research needs to be conducted with a larger sample, across a range of industries.

Practical implications

The paper suggests the need for human resource departments of Middle Eastern organizations to create conditions that encourage managers to develop social relationships given the lack of interactive support mechanisms.


Given the token status of systematic management studies in the Arab world, this research is important as it extends knowledge in wasta practices in the region, and also in comparing wasta with networking and mentoring. Overall, the paper argues that wasta is a lucrative area for future research.



Tlaiss, H. and Kauser, S. (2011), "The importance of wasta in the career success of Middle Eastern managers", Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 35 No. 5, pp. 467-486.



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