Macquarie University
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The power of who you know: an explorative study of wasta and justice perceptions in Saudi universities

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posted on 2022-03-28, 20:03 authored by Mohammed Abdulkarim Almutairi
Wasta is an Arabic word that refers to a reliance on personal relationships to achieve particular outcomes, and is problematic and controversial in Saudi Arabia. People form these relationships either directly, or through a waseet – a mediator who goes between the seeker of wasta and its provider. There are a few wasta relationship bases that encourage wasta to occur but do not necessarily result in it. These bases include immediate family, tribal relations, seniority, job status and social standing. Wasta is perceived negatively in the literature, whereas there is ambiguity surrounding every aspect of wasta in practice. This study uses qualitative and interpretative approaches to capture the perceptions of Saudi university faculty members regarding wasta and justice in their universities. Nine semi-structured interviews were carried out. The study found that inaccurate religious perspectives, unclear and insufficient regulations and ineffective management practices are factors that can explain the confusion around the acceptability of wasta and, thereby, its prevalence. Wasta is perceived to be unfair because it interferes with outcomes allocation processes and affects the accuracy and efficiency of management practices.


Table of Contents

Chapter One: Introduction -- Chapter Two: Literature review -- Chapter Three: Introduction to the context of Saudi Arabia -- Chapter Four: Methodology -- Chapter Five: Findings and discussion -- Chapter Six: Conclusion -- References -- Appendices.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 73-81

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Business and Economics, Department of Management

Department, Centre or School

Department of Management

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Nikola Balnave


Copyright Mohammed Abdulkarim Almutairi 2017. Copyright disclaimer:




1 online resource (87 pages)

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