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Graduating students’ standpoints on Wasta as a ‘gateway’ to employment: motives and influences

Arwa Al-Twal (Department of Human Resources Management, American University of Madaba, Amman, Jordan)
Khaled Aladwan (Department of Human Resources Management, American University of Madaba, Amman, Jordan)

International Journal of Organizational Analysis

ISSN: 1934-8835

Article publication date: 13 August 2020

Issue publication date: 7 May 2021

198

Abstract

Purpose

This study aims to uncover graduating students’ standpoints on Wasta through exploring their motives to use it and its potential influences on them particularly when they move to a workplace (i.e. after leveraging it to gain employment).

Design/methodology/approach

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 26 graduating students studying at a Jordanian private university.

Findings

Graduating students considered Wasta as a gateway to employment, which rationalised their motives to use it in terms of the perceived lack of equal opportunities in the market, and the absence of rules and regulations that inhibit it. However, they also perceived that being hired through Wasta could have positive and negative impacts on them.

Originality/value

The findings of the study enriched the understanding of various aspects of Wasta, such as why it is used, how it works and how it could have harmful effects on those who benefit from it in addition to those who do not have it, while previous literature primarily focussed on the latter. Although individuals may share similar contextual pressures that encourage them to use Wasta for employment purposes, this research shows that they would accept and justify its use for themselves, yet reject it for others. This study emphasises the need to conduct further research to explain these contradictory views. It also suggests exploring the motives of the patrons of Wasta and its influences on them when they offer it. This is to understand the psychology of offering Wasta and identify the roles of the parties who get involved in it.

Keywords

Citation

Al-Twal, A. and Aladwan, K. (2021), "Graduating students’ standpoints on Wasta as a ‘gateway’ to employment: motives and influences", International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Vol. 29 No. 3, pp. 755-768. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOA-04-2020-2139

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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