Relational Gatekeeper Behaviour of HR Managers in the Middle East: The Role of Informal Networks

Alsarhan, Fadi, Horak, Sven and Darwish, Tamer K ORCID: 0000-0003-1815-9338 (2024) Relational Gatekeeper Behaviour of HR Managers in the Middle East: The Role of Informal Networks. The International Journal of Human Resource Management. doi:10.1080/09585192.2024.2359517 (In Press)

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Wasta, the informal network context omnipresent in the Middle East, is widespread in human resource management (HRM) practices. Yet, its influence on the behaviour of HR managers has not been explored. Utilizing relational gatekeeping theory and the informal network perspective in conjunction with in-depth expert interviews with HR managers, we seek to explore whether and how informal networks (wasta) influence and shape their role in an Arab Middle Eastern context. Our findings indicate that the level of wasta penetration in organizations is reliant on the relational gatekeeping behaviours of HR managers. Furthermore, we show how HR managers compensate for structural deficiencies by leveraging their wasta-derived power to amplify their voices. Nevertheless, the findings also emphasize the significance of power sharing in reducing the expansion of culturally derived power associated with wasta, thereby limiting power dynamics and authority to that derived from the formal organizational hierarchy. These insights advance knowledge on gatekeeping behaviour in the Arab Middle Eastern context and contribute new knowledge regarding the operational modes of informal networks within organizations. Our findings underscore the pivotal role that HR managers play in shaping the organizational culture. From a practical perspective, we offer actionable solutions, such as power sharing through committee work, to enhance the effectiveness of the HR function.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: HRM; role of HR managers; informal networks; relational gatekeeping; wasta; Middle East; emerging markets
Related URLs:
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business
H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business > HF5549 Personnel management. Employment management
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Applied Business & Technology
Depositing User: Tamer Darwish
Date Deposited: 21 May 2024 13:09
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2024 11:30

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