Understanding Arab Capitalisms: Patrimonialism, HRM and Work in Saudi Arabia
This article critiques the scholarship on contemporary Arab societies for according a primacy to state-capital relations and neglecting the significance of capital-labour relations. Both, the comparative capitalism approach, which characterises Arab capitalism as patrimonial, and the literature on HRM in the Middle East pay insufficient attention to the workplace and often write labour out as repressed. They are unable to explain the selective implementation of key labour market and HR policies. Explanations of patrimonial capitalism consider societal coordination modes of co-optation and coercion as central to patrimonial capitalism and its state-capital relations. However, by neglecting labour and the workplace, dynamics of coercion and co-optation are conceived as unified and uncontested; equally policies such as Saudisation and Kafala are perceived as unproblematic and any failure in those policies cannot be explained. This article makes two contributions: first, it shows how key policies within patrimonial capitalism – Saudisation and Kafala – are implemented selectively and circumvented at the workplace. Second, these inconsistencies in co-optation and coercion mechanisms are explained through a focus on contestations at the workplace, bringing to the fore dimensions of power, interests and conflict. The study has implications for institutional analysis and societal change in Arab economies.
The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version.
Citation : Hammer, A., Adham, A. (2019) Understanding Arab Capitalisms: Patrimonialism, HRM and Work in Saudi Arabia. International Journal of Human Resource Management,
ISSN : 0958-5192
Research Institute : People, Organisations and Work Institute (POWI)
Peer Reviewed : Yes