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What is Nepotism?

When people in positions of power display unique and disproportionate favor to those they meet, usually family and friends, this is referred to as nepotism. Giving the preferred person a job, offering more and greater opportunities within an organization, or increasing their pay or benefits are all examples of special treatment.

Nepotism in the workplace or at work environment is referred to as: not only to hiring human resource(s) not from the market instead hiring a family member(s), or one form the friends’ lists, but giving friends and family members after hiring or promoting incentives on the basis of relationship and not on merit.  

Whenever there is a family business, most probably it happens that the spurs are bestowed upon the family members, instead of qualified candidates, like the offer of vice president position, etc.

When nepotism is the practice, causes declining trend in the employee morale, employee engagement affects dramatically, employees feel weakening enthusiasm, hence resultantly organizational environment goes 180 degrees opposite to conducive.

Prejudiced discrimination in evaluation procedural codes of conducts, resource allocation magnitudes, promotions of employees from within next positions in the offices, ease in job tasks assigned, and other(s) are all the ways and signs of nepotism. In other words, it is: “Show me the person; I show you the rule”. That is easier words: No rules at all equal for all; and/or no rule of law.

  • It is an amazing fact that the word “nepotism” is derived from the Italian word Nepotismo and that is too from the root Latin word Nepos meaning Nephew. Right from the middle ages and till 17th century, the bishops and popes were used to give positions to nephews - like a father to sons – because they had no offspring of their own, therefore. 
  • Nepotism is often confused with unfairness, prejudice, inequality, biasness, wrong done, discrimination, partiality, preferential treatment, one-sidedness, preference, favoritism, venality, fraudulency, unfairness, unreasonable means, grafting, cronyism, on the take, power corruption, misappropriation, meaningless means, overestimation, inclination, inequality, patronage, nepotistic, partisanship, party men ship, of the party, one party, in a party, attachment, unlawful, interested in, not neutral, interestedness, injustice, not objective, subjective, not equitable, and more. They all can be nepotism alternatives, but on case to case basis.

Types of Nepotism

There can be as many types of nepotism as you need to as per the case, but the familiar ones are of those following few:

  1. Political Nepotism: Examples of political nepotism are in the experiences of all of us at the global level. We are not here to name any but is seen through the eyeglasses of justifiable evaluations, there are several parties on different parts of the planet where it is evident that the offspring, though incompetent, are given privileges to be on certain special appointments which really necessitates meritorious people to drive the vehicles of the political parties’ positions to higher level road maps, but the nepotism causes slow poisoning of sweetness consequently the political agenda – through positive in its essence, if so – are seen going in vain.
  2. Organizational Nepotism: Nepotism at organizational levels can be both where it is organic design or the bureaucratic culture. The chains of command whatever controls, but the favoritism termite eats the building walls of the requisite high performance and necessary positive progression. Giving positions to the near and dear ones instead of the relevant experienced workforce personnel is a very example of organizational nepotism.
  3. Nepotism in HR: Nepotism in HR is the term whereby you being a Company HR head give at a personal level any of the wrong advantages based on likeness and/or dislike-ness to a few particular persons. That can be in the recruitment of new job entrants, training opportunities within country duty stations and fields; and/or abroad training, promotions, demotions, performance evaluations, selection procedures, administration, legal matters, utilities, transportation like office cars, etc., telephones incentives, trips like entertainment, and so on are all the matters where HR can commit a wrong and that can be counted towards under umbrella of nepotism.
    Reciprocal Nepotism: A family member is hired for a certain position and accepted that position for reasons of financial dependency, family relationships, or cultural norms.
    • Entitled Nepotism: A family member feels at-ease worker, or is given extra privileges, on a senior post just because the company owner is the relative of the employee.
  4. Entertainment Nepotism: In entertainment are their examples of nepotism present as well and these are worldwide. If we look into the details of any film fare awards, or the movie industry taking the progenies as the heroes and female casts in drama and glamour industry that is too nepotism based, though not all. Reality Shows on entertainment TV programs, like we do not call here by names due to many reasons, are prone to nepotism.

How nepotism can be harmful for your organization?

Nepotism can be harmful for your organization in the following ways:

  • Invitation to litigation: Nepotism invites legal actions on part of the employees’ lawsuits against the employers giving undue favoritism to relatives (nepotism) and to friends (Cronyism).
  • Unprofessional attitudinal track opening: Nepotism opens the tracks for unprofessional behaviorism to flourish and performance to vanish slowly because then remains little pay for performance inviting more troubles.
  • Under qualified people on the top: It is a famous maxim that ice starts melting at the top. And power corrupts but absolute power corrupts absolutely. This is in terms of inhuman human actions and reactions in reply to nepotism as well as cronyism. When the underqualified personnel being relatives and friends occupy the top-notch seats of your strategic level positions then wait for the tragic scenario to be on your organizational bad news surface soon.
  • Evasion of penalties: Penalties, if required due to non-professional and criminal doings, are evaded due to good relationships within organizations, opening the ways for the catastrophic consequences to look forward to.

How to minimize Nepotism then?

To minimize nepotism, your HR must not neglect the nepotism or cronyism unnoticed or undone. The timely action as per efficiency and discipline regulations is the prime responsibility of your HR domain people to work upon and do inform your strategic level of the wrong done and undone.

Is Nepotism always negative?

Not all the time's nepotism is a bad practice! As for nepotism is followed in a positive manner like if a person is competent as well as well-known to you due to s/he is a relative or a friend, referrals do work on the creation of a sense of ownership.

The near and dear can never run away untraced, hence they have to face you being the associates, therefore can rarely evade while being at mistake. This way nepotism can bring a positive sense of possession and proprietorship on for long-term basis to continue.