Why Nepotism in the Workplace Is Bad

nepotism in the workplace, example of nepotism in the workplace, how to handle nepotism in the workplace, effects of nepotism in the workplace

Why Nepotism in the Workplace Is Bad

Favouritism is prevalent in all sectors of life, and the workplace is no exception. The favouritism that occurs in the workplace is known as nepotism. Nepotism in the workplace has been constantly discussed in the business space in a negative light, and how it contributes to a toxic work environment has been the focus of conversations. In this article, we will discuss reasons why nepotism in the workplace is bad and how it creates a toxic work environment. Also, we will discuss the possible positive effects of it in the workplace.

What Is Nepotism in the Workplace?

Nepotism in the workplace happens when a person in place of authority gives opportunities within the company to their close circle of friends and family members as a favour. This is usually done when making appointments, promotions, or assigning attractive assignments.

Additionally, it is a method for hiring and promotion in some companies, and in these companies, the authorized person will give preference to his relatives for employment, and this cycle of family engagement will continue beyond generations.

Nepotism in the workplace has been called immoral and destructive conduct that creates unwanted confusion in the workplace and produces negative connotations in the environment. However, it is a touchy subject and a standard procedure in commercial settings. Although it is seen in such a negative light, nepotism in the workplace can occasionally bring advantageous outcomes for society when certain conditions are met.

Types of Nepotism in the Workplace

Nepotism can be found in many different industries, including politics, entertainment, sports, and small enterprises, in addition to the workplace of traditional businesses. The three types of nepotism in the workplace in the workplace is as follows:

Entitlement Nepotism

This is a kind of favouritism involving family members. Nepotism can sometimes take the form of entitlement when a family member or close friend takes a job because he believes he is entitled to it. However, the negative effects of this form of favouritism are even more severe than those caused by the preceding form. This is because the hired individual accepts the position because of a relationship with a higher authority rather than based on family ties. 

Reciprocal Nepotism 

There is a form of nepotism known as reciprocal nepotism. This form of nepotism occurs when a person in a position of power or authority hires family members. Those family members accept the job based on one of three criteria: their degree of financial dependence on the powerful individual, the cultural norms in their community, and the extent to which they will benefit from the trade (whether in the form of a higher income, greater loyalty, or a more harmonious family dynamic.

Negative Effects of Nepotism in the Workplace

The negative of nepotism in the workplace is as follows: 

#1. It Contributes to a Hazardous Working Environment

Primarily, when nepotism is present in the workplace, the atmosphere degenerates into one that is poisonous, resulting in increased stress levels among workers and damaging the firm’s success. These behaviours produce a poisonous atmosphere because employed family members are not treated like the other employees. Additionally, it is challenging for other employees to work in this atmosphere, and they report feeling uneasy due to their experiences. 

#2. It Creates a Decline in Both Production and the Morale of the Workforce

Even if they have poor performance and weak work ethics, managers and bosses still value well-known employees. This circumstance results in decreased staff productivity, employee morale, and insecurity-related difficulties. 

#3. Incompetence within an organization hurts that organization’s reputation.

Recruiting and promoting people based on their relationships rather than their real credentials and talents is known as nepotism. Because of this, it can be detrimental to an organization’s competency and reputation. 

#4. It Creates Resentment on the Part of the Workers

Employee resentment is one of the downsides that might come from practising nepotism in the workplace. When employees know that the system is unjust and that promotions are given based on familial ties, they lose their fellow workers’ respect. As a result, it fosters hatred among them, which manifests itself in their unfavourable views.

#5. Personality Clashes and Unsatisfactory Interpersonal Connections

Last but not least, problems in one’s personal life or within one’s family might disrupt one’s professional or commercial life. If the hired family member is not performing up to expectations or according to the plan, and the person in power has decided to terminate him, the relationship between the individual or family and him will suffer.

Positive Effects of Nepotism in the Workplace

Although nepotism in the workplace has always been seen in a negative life, there are some benefits that might be contributing to why it is prevalent in society:

#1. Leaving a Lasting Legacy for One’s Family

When it comes to building a family heritage, private companies prefer to hire members of the family. In addition, transferring a family enterprise from one generation to the next often involves the practice of nepotism, which is often regarded as a positive development.

#2. Loyal and Concerned About the Success of Your Company

A strong amount of loyalty is typically displayed by blood relatives, close friends, or both. They may be relied on to carry on your traditions after you’re gone. In a similar vein, they show concern for your company and are interested in the progress it makes.

#3. Decreased Recruitment Expenses improved employee retention rates

Another con of nepotism in the workplace is that it reduces the cost of employee recruitment. This is because the individual’s facts, background, and potential shortcomings and talents are already known, thereby helping to lower the cost of hiring new employees and the time it takes to keep existing employees. 

#4. Collaborative Effort and Less Employee Turnover

Recent studies have shown that hiring acquaintances greatly reduces employee turnover. This is because friends and family are loyal and cooperative workers. They have incredible cooperation, potentially producing beneficial results for the company.

How to Handle Nepotism in the Workplace

Finding a solution to the problem of nepotism in the workplace can be challenging. However, with the following tips, it can be handled:

  • Establish transparent guidelines: Create a policy outlining your company’s stance regarding hiring family members and include it in the employee handbook. This policy has to make abundantly clear what favouritism is, the potential consequences for those who engage in it, and how to lodge a complaint if you believe someone is engaging in it.
  • Train operators and supervisors: Make sure that managers are familiar with how to make hiring decisions based on objective criteria. Suppose the personnel in charge of hiring are related to or have personal relationships with any of the applicants. In that case, they need to recuse themselves from the process to prevent being perceived as discriminatory.
  • Encourage individuals to come forward: For your employees to report any bias, you must instruct them to use the internal complaints policy. If a report is made, you need to investigate it very thoroughly.
  • Maintain an attitude befitting a professional: A professional demeanour must always be maintained, regardless of the circumstances. If you are an employee who is required to deal with nepotism, you should concentrate on your work and avoid getting involved in the political affairs of the workplace.
  • Maintain a record of your work: If you believe that you are not being considered for a promotion because of your family’s connections to the company, you should document the contributions that you have made to the organization. This can help you gain a job or a raise, and it can also bring attention to any unfairness in how opportunities are distributed.
  • Communicate with great care. If you have something to say about nepotism, confiding in a reliable colleague who is not directly involved is best. Please include documentation of the issue that is both clear and precise, as well as any supporting evidence that you may have.

What Are the Ethical Issues of Nepotism in the Workplace?

Nepotism in the workplace is a significant ethical issue that can negatively impact employees and the organization. It involves favouring family members, friends, or close acquaintances in hiring decisions or career progression opportunities rather than evaluating candidates based on their skills, abilities, and experience.

It can take various forms, such as cronyism, entitlement, and reciprocal nepotism. It can lead to feelings of injustice, negative morale, and unethical employee behaviours. Additionally, nepotism can lead to a loss of organizational productivity and the derailment of structures, hindering the company’s overall growth and success. It may also lead to feelings of resentment among employees who feel overlooked for opportunities they deserve, potentially leading to conspiring with competitors to harm their employer.

Despite the ethical issues, nepotism is not generally illegal in the private sector but can lead to discrimination complaints and lawsuits. To avoid these issues, organizations can implement strategies such as cultivating inclusive decision-making, defining an anti-nepotism policy, and establishing a transparent hiring and promotion culture.


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