Nepotism has been around for hundreds of years. It is about abusing power and favoring family members and friends when filling positions in a company or institution. Nepotism is present in practically every area of life: in politics, business or sports. What is the definition of nepotism and what are its effects?
Nepotism is the abuse of position to facilitate the careers of relatives | Photo: baranq / Shutterstock
- Nepotism is corrupt
- It is one of the oldest forms of the struggle for power
- Nepotism favors mobbing in the company
Nepotism comes from the Latin word “nepos” which means grandson, nephew. So what is nepotism? In the Middle Ages, nepotism was spoken of in the context of granting privileges by church hierarchs to their illegitimate children, whom they called nephews. Currently, this term is perceived more broadly and refers to the phenomenon of getting a job done after acquaintance. It is the abuse of position, position and power and favoring family members as well as friends when filling positions. In this case, family ties and kinship are more important than the competences of a given person. Nepotism is corrupt. It is present in every aspect of life. Manifestations of nepotism can be found in politics, business, entertainment, and even in the church.
What is nepotism in practice today? First of all, the results of recruiting when it comes to selecting a candidate for a vacant position are ignored. The competences and experience of the prospective employee are not important because the position is offered to a family member or friend. This is, of course, a negative phenomenon, as it prevents people who can do better in a given position from getting a job and career development.
How is nepotism rated?
There is no denying that the phenomenon of nepotism is assessed very negatively in society because it disturbs fair social relations. In a country based on meritocracy, filling vacancies should consist in assessing the qualifications of candidates, as well as treating them equally. Unfortunately, nepotism contradicts this, and although it is perceived badly, it is still present in everyday life. Research shows that the majority of Poles believe that filling relatives and friends for positions in offices, companies and banks is a very frequent phenomenon. Nepotism promotes corruption as well as the abuse of its position.It also spoils the labor market, because people with qualifications and appropriate experience cannot perform the functions for which they are created. Thus, they cannot use their skills and develop them further. Nepotism is one of the oldest forms of the struggle for power. It is based on the abuse of power and thus material benefits and privileges only for the sake of kinship . Although nepotism is considered a form of corruption, it is not a crime.
Effects of nepotism
Nepotism is not only unethical but also has serious consequences. Everyone loses it – not only employees who, despite their competences, did not get a job, but also institutions and companies where we deal with nepotism. This phenomenon is exacerbating the poverty of the poor and increasing economic inequalities. Nepotism is undesirable from the point of view of the legal order of the state.
It brings not only financial losses, e.g. when important decisions in state companies are taken by people without appropriate competences, but also in the operation of the organization in which this phenomenon occurs.
At the team level, there is a loss of employee trust, growing conflicts and negativity, as well as gossiping. There is a lack of sense of justice in the team as well as communication problems . There is also a higher probability of mobbing.
In the case of the functioning of individual people in an organization, there is a decrease in the involvement of a given person, loss of trust in the company, as well as greater stress and reluctance. Nepotism leads to the lack of further development of the employee, the development of his skills, and the lack of promotion in the structures of the organization. All this, on the scale of the entire organization, causes further effects. It leads to increased employee turnover, reduced productivity and quality of work, as well as increased absenteeism from work. Nepotism also leads to a loss of good image for the company, as well as a deterioration in its financial situation.
Occurrence of nepotism – are we dealing with this phenomenon in Poland?
Nepotism is a phenomenon that is present all over the world. However, there are countries that are successfully fighting this phenomenon. These include those with the highest level of democracy – especially Scandinavian countries, such as Norway or Denmark. Here the phenomenon is of the smallest scale.
So how is it with the occurrence of nepotism in Poland? Unfortunately, it is a common phenomenon, it may occur less frequently than in the 1990s, but still most Poles believe that nepotism is common in our country. This is confirmed by the report of the Supreme Audit Office, which shows that in 2010, in the case of 75% of the inspected offices, there were irregularities in the recruitment of candidates for vacant positions . A number of manipulations were noticed in the conduct of competitions for clerical positions.
This is despite the fact that by law all should have equal opportunities, and nepotism is forbidden in public administration. However, there are abuses in this matter made possible by imprecise regulations.
Where are the most common examples of nepotism in Poland? The most visible, of course, concern public and social life, i.e. politics, public administration, but also professional corporations – most often it concerns doctors and lawyers.
Nepotism in politics is particularly acute as it concerns the management of public money, not private property. It is visible especially in the appointment of family members on supervisory boards of State Treasury companies, but also in the preferential treatment of relatives in public tenders.
Examples of nepotism can be found not only in Poland, but also around the world. One of the most famous is the appointment by President Donald Trump of both his daughter and her husband as their advisers at the White House. Similarly, nepotism was used by Bill Clinton, who placed his wife and daughter in high state positions as well as in his foundation. John F. Kennedy, who named his brother as the attorney general of the United States, and his brother-in-law as the first director of the Peace Corps, had similarly used his position.