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Culture, Wasta and perceptions of performance appraisal in Saudi Arabia

Al Harbi, Saleh; Thursfield, Denise; Bright, David


Saleh Al Harbi

Denise Thursfield

David Bright


This article explores the relationship between Arabic culture and employees’ perceptions of performance appraisal in a Saudi Arabian company named SACO. Using an interpretive and qualitative methodological framework, the article suggests that Western models of performance appraisal rooted in rationality and objectivity conflict with aspects of Saudi Arabian culture. Specifically, the personal relations implicated in the social practice of Wasta. However, the article also shows how SACO employees are beginning to reject Saudi Arabian cultural norms and adopt alternative values which are linked to notions of organisational justice and individual egalitarianism. These values are compatible with Western models of performance appraisal.


Al Harbi, S., Thursfield, D., & Bright, D. (2017). Culture, Wasta and perceptions of performance appraisal in Saudi Arabia. The international journal of human resource management, 28(19), 2792-2810.

Acceptance Date Dec 31, 2015
Online Publication Date Feb 8, 2016
Publication Date 2017
Deposit Date Jan 15, 2016
Publicly Available Date Nov 23, 2017
Journal International journal of human resource management
Print ISSN 0958-5192
Electronic ISSN 1466-4399
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 28
Issue 19
Pages 2792-2810
Keywords Appraisal; Culture; Justice; Performance; Wasta
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International journal of human resource management on 8th February 2016, available online:


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