Introduction The use of wasta to hire employees, or transact important business in companies is an age old behavior that has been in existence for many years. Here, individuals often use their influential capacity (wasta) operational in a trusted network of relatives (or other trusted but powerful members of the society) to acquire job/business opportunities (Hansen 1996). Although one can argue that the use of wasta can be beneficial in creating a network of trust for business organizations, as it will become clear here, its justification cannot withstand moral theories that should ideally apply to all business transactions within an organization. Moreover, with the present social costs in our society that have arisen through the use of wasta, it is impossible to justify the use of wasta in hiring and performing business transactions.
Let us consider an example of a wasta ethical dilemma. Someone has just graduated from a university with a bachelor degree in business and is seeking employment. When applying for an employment opportunity, he undergoes an interviewing process after which he gets an evaluation of his chances of securing the job from his interviewer. Being honest with him, she (the interviewer) tells the interviewee that his chances of obtaining the given job are little since there are other candidates that have obtained higher scores during the interviewing process. At this moment, the interviewee starts wrestling with the idea of using wasta to contact his uncle who can effortlessly secure this particular job for him. How will he make his decision here?
Let us consider the theory of utilitarianism. What one does here is judged from a threshold that measures how one’s act will affect the majority (Hansen 1996). What brings joy/happiness to the majority can therefore be considered to be morally acceptable (Hansen 1996). In applying this utilitarianism theory, we can argue that contacting his uncle (to help in securing the concerned employment) will be morally unacceptable. Looking at it closely, when such system of favoring particular people apart from merit is encouraged, it means that efforts put to hard work (by competitors for opportunities) will be redundant (West 2004). It is like a race where the best do not win; therefore, limiting inspiration for hard work. The majority of people would therefore stop to work hard seeing no reason in it; thus, creating a system that does not stimulate peoples’ talents to better the majority of our society. Moreover, eliminating competitors for particular positions on the basis of favoritism will mean that companies will be hiring less competent persons for available positions; thus, automatically lowering output and productivity from the concerned organization. Since, companies deliver their productivity to the society, the situation above means that the majority of the society will get poor services from a company with preferential hiring (West 2004).