Nepotism in the Workplace and its effects


Nepotism is defined because the practice of constructing employment decisions on the premise of relationship. It also can be defined as hiring or promoting a relative or friend, whether or not there are other qualified candidates for the position. Nepotism within the workplace is not uncommon, since this is a practice that does not have any universal law attached to it. However, in recent times, states have passed laws to reduce this practice, since it has many ethical issues involved in it. This article will seek to define nepotism and it would to the international, regional and local organizations where we have seen suspicions of nepotism. It will be difficult to prove that nepotism does in fact occur in any organization; however, based on the link between persons hired and their relations, we have suspicions of the occurrences of nepotism. Nepotism is both seen in the private and public sector. However, supported and it is more prevalent in the public sector.

This paper will also show how nepotism can be detrimental the company on a whole, because there are many consequences which result in nepotism. Some consequences that will be examined include, family conflict in the work place, low staff morale, loss of competent employees, use of the job to carry out unethical acts, use of position to serve their own interest and to the detriment of the company and breach of confidentiality.

Nepotism is evident in family owned businesses for the obvious reasons. Families would want to pass the business from generation to generation and this means that the profit will stay within the family and will be inherited by family members.

Result of Nepotism
Although there are consequences of nepotism a pro of this act can create stability and continuity in the organization and this will refer to more family owned businesses. Continuity as a result of family in hand, the business can continue by passing from generation to generation. Stability because, there’ll be succession planning which might lead to the corporate being successful. On the flip side of the coin, the consequences out weigh the pros of nepotism. It creates dissatisfaction among employees. When employees are dissatisfied they may have a feeling that their hard work and dedication are not accepted or recognized by the organization. Nepotism can also result in the company losing proficient employees. This can in turn affect the organizations goods and services. Nepotism can also cause fraud in the organization. Additionally, member of the family members may bring their conflict into the workplace. Employees might not be ready to separate home and work life. This can be most seen in cases where husbands and wives work together and may find it difficult to work together. This might cause a decrease in the morale among staff members. A complete breakdown in communication may result because of this, which will trickle down to other employees within the corporate.

Inequity of the employees is another issue resulting from Nepotism. Because of this factor, employees tend to point out their dissatisfaction by low production of work which has attributed to issues in the work place in terms of upholding discipline among employees. Discipline is a problem because employees believe that since there’s no justice within the organization there’s no need to follow any policy or procedure. Breach of confidentiality is another consequence of nepotism. This may occur because of the lack of loyalty among employees.

Employees may see this as an opportune time for them to practice unethical acts, because they believe because they were hired by a close or relative any practice is appreciated in the organization and they may use this to their advantage to get involved in any kind of unethical behaviour.

Where nepotism is prevalent
For obvious reasons nepotism is common in family owned businesses and this will be viewed within the more positive terms. Nepotism in family owned businesses may endup in continuity in that the business will be passed on from generation to generation. There may be no ethical issues involved in the hiring family members within a family owned business.

Nepotism is prevalent in the government offices. For example in the United States of America, Vice President Cheney’s wife and his son-in-law Phillip Cheney were hired by President George Bush and were given high level position with the government. The positions given were Assistant Secretary of State and Chief Counsel for the Office of Management and budget respectfully (Congress, USA Today, 2007). President Bush was highly criticized for this, because many believe that were more qualified individuals who fit the job.

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In Cuba Fidel Castro was President of Cuba for over forty years. His brother Raul Castro is now President and has been in the position from since 2008 to present. Raul was given the position of President without any elections by the people of Cuba. Because of the autocratic leadership style displayed by Fidel and his brother Raul. Many see this as an act of nepotism.

In relation to Grenada, we have seen evidence nepotism in the government sectors, in that persons have been employed because of their affiliation and relation to government officials.

Research was conducted on some private owned companies in which we saw, a father, wife, daughter and son-in-law were employed within the same organization. Staff members are of the opinion that these individuals were hired because of the family relation.

Types of Nepotism
Credentials nepotism: This form of nepotism is sometimes concealed but could be very dangerous to both an individual and an organization. In this situation people are given more credit for attending a class and passing but cannot apply what they have learnt. In short credential nepotism means giving someone more credit because they are certified (Young, 2008).

“They were thought thick and thin” favoritism: This sort of favoritism discrimination is for the foremost half part perverse and can produce heap of chaos. New performers in an organization tend to realize that old performers (those who have been with organization from inception) are given preferential treatment by management. This clearly shows that old employees are not held to the same employee accountability standards as the new ones (Young, 2008).

Referral nepotism: Referral is an employment which is said to be natural. In this case, management asks high performers within the organization to recommend someone for a job opening that needs to be filled. Management hiring someone who turns out to be a poor performer but is tied to a high performer through friendship could lead to chaos in that trying to terminate that poor performer without upsetting the high performer is almost inevitable (Young, 2008).

Contribution nepotism: This is often a situation where persons within a corporation receives preferential treatment because of a one-time contribution that made the organization more successful while their subsequent performance has been poor or unsatisfactory (Young, 2008).

Connection nepotism: is a connection which comes about by virtue of a shared experience such as attending the same school, attend the same church, from the same community, are members of the same sports club or were in the same fraternity. Connection nepotism is inclined to turn a blind eye to low employee performance and poor job fit (Young, 2008).

Favoritism: The different types of nepotism mentioned above results in favoritism which is considered to be a killer of the morals o employees (Young, 2008).

Nepotism is an issue that can be very difficult to control once there are relatives or family members who hold key positions in organizations and who have influence of who is hired and who is not hired. In a small population like Grenada, it will be a difficult task to alleviate the problem, since ‘everybody knows everybody’ in Grenada. The term ‘pull string’ will always be a problem in our society.

Even within the more developed countries, it might be a difficult issue to combat, since there also are also family members and friends employed in high level positions who can be very influential in the recruitment process. However, if policies and procedures are implemented, the practice of nepotism can be decreased, and person will be hired for their qualifications and skills as opposed to being hired because of a friendly or a family relation.

It is important that organizations avoid the practices of nepotism. Based on our research conducted, nepotism could be very detrimental to an organization and could cause a loss of profit and this could also tarnish the reputation of the organization.


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