Arabic Business Relationship Characteristics: a Social Capital Perspective

Hussain Albin Shaikh, Sharon Purchase, Gregory Brush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this study is to understand the development of social capital in an Arab business environment, and provide an in-depth description of the nature and role of three key Arabic business relationship characteristics (ehsan, et-moone and wasta), their impact on each other and key influencing factors. Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative research design was used, in which face-to-face semi-structured interviews were conducted with innovation teams (22 team members) at six industrial small and medium-sized enterprises in Saudi Arabia. The interviews were recorded and transcribed, then analyzed (thematic coding) through NVivo. Findings: The findings suggest that wasta, ehsan and et-moone align closely with the three social capital dimensions (structural, cognitive and relational); thus, developing these three relationship characteristics most likely results in developing social capital. The findings also expand the description of the three business relationship characteristics. Moreover, ehsan, et-moone and wasta appear to influence each other, and are affected by other factors such as an individual’s age and position, and the duration of the relationship. Ehsan has a positive influence on the development
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-425
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Business and Industrial Marketing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2019


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