Navigating wasta in business practices in Lebanon

Journal article


Helal, R, Ali, S., Strecker, S and Weir, D 2023. Navigating wasta in business practices in Lebanon. Thunderbird International Business Review. pp. 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1002/tie.22352
AuthorsHelal, R, Ali, S., Strecker, S and Weir, D
Abstract

Faced with severe social, political, and economic challenges, Lebanon is described asa weak state. Argued to be a key factor weakening the formal institutions there, is the prevalent practice of wasta. This article seeks to answer two questions: (1) Why is wasta prevalent in a business environment characterised by weak formal institutions, such as Lebanon? (2) How can managers navigate the use of wasta in the Lebanese business context where it prevails, avoiding its negative outcomes while utilizing its positive outcomes? Fourteen semi-structured interviews were conducted of managers from the Lebanese industrial sector. The findings highlight that wasta is used due to the networked nature of Lebanese society, economic hardship, wide-spread corruption and to maintain power. It was found that wasta could be beneficial in securing jobs, removing red tape, and gaining employment for humanitarian rea-sons. Finally, the negative outcomes of using wasta were found to include the employment of unqualified individuals, a reduction of organizations' productivity and a further weakening of formal institutions

Keywordsinformal institutions; informal networks; wasta; institutional theory,; weak states
Year2023
JournalThunderbird International Business Review
Journal citationpp. 1-10
PublisherWiley
ISSN 1520-6874
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1002/tie.22352
Web address (URL)https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/tie.22352
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Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online20 May 2023
Publication process dates
Accepted01 May 2023
Deposited25 May 2023
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