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There’s been a huge uproar regarding the nepotism issue, recently. The problem is so prevalent in the current atmosphere that people from every industry are speaking about it. From Hollywood to small entrepreneurial ventures, the macroscopic debate has become louder and angrier. It has resulted in dinner table conversation and 8 pm news headline. Several talk shows, documentaries, and controversies have taken place and gathered the attention of people from all walks of life. The world is divided into two strong categories of insiders and outsiders. Many fingers have been raised, and countless friendships have broken up. Nepotism is a conscious and bias act or decision by an individual holding a powerful and influential position. It is a practice in which a person makes employment or business resolutions and settlements on the basis of personal relationships. This means that a manager, business owner, director, or a chief executive officer of a company will favour his or her friend, family, or a relative in the hiring process or promote them. This practice has been building and destroying the dreams and ambitions of millions since the dawn of time. This act has a major impact on a company at a larger scale. It may not be easily possible to prove nepotism in a workplace, but it isn’t entirely impossible.
Most people prefer to not touch upon the ethical codes while discussing the issue of nepotism because this action is so deeply ingrained and rooted within our system that if scratched, everything can fall apart. Another reason for excluding this discussion is that the condition is so common that it seems almost normal and unproblematic. The problem is super prominent in government bodies which is why they stay mute on the problem. However, in many cities around the world, several laws and rules have been implemented and foreseen. They are relatively strict in Missouri. Its efforts and hurdles are double the usual when an outsider wants to step into a company which is largely run by a family. Sometimes, even when the qualification level of an outsider and a member of the family is equal, the preference is given to the latter as the company can trust them more. This favouritism should also be counted in situations where the boss is taking emotional or sexual advantage from an employee of the lower level. This is highly unethical, and many cases of sexual harassment have resulted due to this.
Nepotism has various types, and some of them are mentioned below.
1. Connection Nepotism: In this particular type of nepotism, there’s usually an association between the two parties. They might have attended the same school, church, club, or are the members of the same community. When this type of nepotism occurs, the head or the manager tends to overlook or turn a blind eye towards the qualification and the poor performance generation. This has long-term harmful effects.
2. Credentials Nepotism: This type of nepotism usually happens in situations where the credibility is given just because someone has passed a class. This isn’t as prominent and visible to a normal person but carry the potential to cause harm to both the individual and the company.
3. Referral Nepotism: This is possibly the most obvious and lightly taken version of nepotism. Here the managers ask the high performers of the company or department to recommend their friends for hiring. The company only tries to fill in the positions. However, when someone who is hired through this process turns out to be a low performer, the company suffers, and many interpersonal issues arise. Things can get quite messy in this type of nepotism scenario.
4. Contribution Nepotism: Here an employee keeps receiving bonuses and benefits due to the one-time contribution that served as highly beneficial for the company. Due to this reason, the company even ignores the constant poor performance after that one high.
5. Preferential treatment to the old and experienced: This is also a type of nepotism in which company gives preferential treatments to the old and experienced employees of the company as they believe that they have been with the company through thick and thin. This can be chaotic as the new and fresh employees might feel overlooked and underappreciated.
It’s not like nepotism is the worst thing that could happen to humankind and that it should be fought against brutally. It does seem to have many advantageous factors as well. Usually, people hire known relatives and friends because of the level of trust and compatibility stored within their relationship. It comes naturally as you are aware of the personality and behaviour of the person. You understand what makes them tick and what quirks they possess. Insiders come with knowledge regarding the business which, of course, a stranger wouldn’t have. There’s also a strong possibility of the family member being underpaid. For the same job they might be able to earn more if they work with another company. And also, these people come with a lot of pressure as everyone is looking up to them. People expect them to continue the same excellence that their parents possessed. They’re constantly compared to them, and it's eventually become quite isolating. Mentioned above are all the positive effects of nepotism. Now let's take a look at the negative effects of supporting nepotism in the workplace. There’s a big glass ceiling that is extremely difficult, and to be fair, impossible to break through. The higher and most influential seats are always passed from one generation to another. An outsider can hardly manage to get into this place. It’s quite evident that people of the same family are promoted or in case of bad performance get shifted or forgiven. Sometimes it becomes exhausting for the manager to guide or complain about the family member to a higher authority or supervisor as they are all related. This can lead the manager in hot water. The manager might lose his or her job. There’s a major morality issue as related individuals easily get promoted to higher positions even if there are better performers than them. People recommend their friends, kids, and cousins without comparing their qualifications with other qualified contenders. This is extremely unfair as many deserving candidates are left unemployed and suffer badly. When there are issues within family members, the business gets affected as well. Issues occurring in their personal lives may leave an impact on the business front. When people are hired on the basis of nepotism, the rest of the employees question their skills and knowledge. They may have little respect for them which might become evident sooner or later.
In conclusion, nepotism is a huge problem in today’s time. It has penetrated every business aspect. It has been part of our society and culture since the beginning and is considered quite normal. Media has taken up the mantle to highlight this issue of nepotism but since most influential positions in the government, politics, and top grossing companies of the world represent and support this act, it is harder to combat and eradicate this systematic error. From the current president of the United States of America to the Royal family of Great Britain, the world is run by famous and wealthy families. It is part of both individualistic and collectivistic culture. It may not be problematic in small businesses, but it can lead to huge financial losses while affecting the reputation of big companies. It isn’t wrong to hire a known person who you can trust, after all, you have the right to run your company the way you want to. However, if you can provide someone with a life-changing opportunity on the basis of their qualification, try to not be biased.