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The influence of Wasta on knowledge sharing in Kuwait

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conference contribution
posted on 18.09.2017, 09:02 authored by Abrar A. Al-Enzi, Louise Cooke, Andrew T. Rothwell
This paper examines the role of wasta within Arab Societies. Wasta is a set of personal networks based on family or connections in which power and influence is used to achieve objectives. As wasta evolved, it became deeply rooted in Arab societies. For instance, wasta became a tool which people used to get recruited in any position, regardless of their qualification. It is considered as a family obligation, a technique for doing businesses and a practice in which knowledge is shared, transferred and created. In any case, the outcomes identified with wasta in businesses are considerable as it not only impacts organizational performance but also employees’ performance as well. To date, there has been little research on the influence of wasta within organizations in terms of knowledge sharing and innovation. Consequently, the question that is addressed is: Does Wasta influence knowledge sharing in Kuwait, which in turn impacts organizational performance? Accordingly, mixed methods research design was utilized to examine the specified subject. The justification behind this approach is that both qualitative and quantitative strategies supplement each other by giving a more in-depth and complete picture of the topic. The paper will provide a conceptual framework of what wasta is, how it is being executed and ways in which it is impacting knowledge sharing in organizations. The paper is intended to deliver insights for organizations about how the practice of wasta is impacting their performance, either positively or negatively. The initial findings revealed that wasta negatively impacts knowledge sharing in the sense that those who are within the wasta circle can access, circulate and provide new information that was once unavailable to them. However, such practices also have a negative impact in that employees who are not within such circle will be reluctant to share knowledge due to knowing that wasta users have an advantage over them and hence, they do not want to lose their competitive advantage.



  • Business and Economics


  • Business

Published in

Proceedings of the 18th European Conference on Knowledge Management




23 - 29


AL-ENZI, A., COOKE, L. and ROTHWELL, L., 2017. The influence of Wasta on knowledge sharing in Kuwait. IN: Marimon, F. al., (eds.) Proceedings of the 18th European Conference on Knowledge Management (ECKM), International University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain, 7-8th Sept. Reading: Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited, Vol. 1, pp. 23-29.


Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited (ACPI)


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International University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain