chapter  5
13 Pages

Wasta in Jordanian Banking

An Emic Approach to a Culture-Specific Concept of Social Networking and Its Power Implications
WithSa’ad Ali, David Weir

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.