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Negative Effects of Nepotism at the Workplace

Negative Effects of Nepotism at the Workplace
Nepotism is exhibiting favoritism at work with one's friends, family, or relatives. The Workspirited article below enlists the negative effects of nepotism at the workplace.
Buzzle Staff
Did You Know?
Nepotism is known to be fairly prevalent in government offices and politics as well. It is one of the main factors responsible for corrupt and unfair practices.

When an employer practices favoritism towards his/her family/friends at the workplace, it is termed as nepotism. Nepotism at the workplace can be one of the first signs of a deteriorating work culture. Technically, favoritism in the workplace may or may not be illegal, because an employer may favor an employee who is genuinely intelligent and capable. This kind of behavior qualifies more for an ethical debate than a legal one.
However, whatever the situation, no one should have to put up with unfair treatment at work. Nepotism issues can cause unnecessary unpleasantness and conflicts at work. In the paragraphs below, you will come across some negative effects of nepotism in a professional setting.
Effects of Nepotism
On the Employer
  • If an employer practices nepotism, he is sure to face extreme criticism from his/her employees.
  • To begin with, he may lose the respect of his subordinates, even those who might have respected him once.
  • He will lose the collective goodwill of the employees, in general.
  • He will lose everyone's trust and confidence, and will be assumed to be a weak, coward leader.
  • Newly hired employees may perceive him in a bad light right from the outset.
  • His colleagues may feel worthless and may affect the effectiveness as a team.
  • He himself may or may not be able to make fair assessments after a period of time, while blindly following cronyism.
  • The employers staff may not trust him entirely to take the correct decisions pertaining to any situation.
  • Some may even gossip behind his back, or pass derogatory comments as well.
  • Aggrieved employees may file lawsuits against the manager on the grounds of workplace harassment or discrimination.
  • If the person he is favoring is not very capable, he will have to suffer the consequences.
  • An employer is also likely to suffer if any of his mid-level managers practice nepotism, since it results in an unfavorable work atmosphere, which may affect the growth of the company (in case good employees cease to give their best or start quitting).

On the Employee
  • To begin with, an employee experiences a feeling of desertion and alienation. This is obvious, since he is made to feel unimportant in a place where he expects to feel valued.
  • If there is a particular promotion an employee has been waiting for, but the same is given to an undeserving co-worker, frustration and anger may seep in.
  • Many employees suffer from depression if nepotism persists in the office. Nepotism takes a toll on the employee's physical and emotional state, reduces his confidence, and creates a stressful environment.
  • Unable to put up with the bias, many people seek legal help. Lawsuits and other legal actions, like penalty, compensation, etc., are prevalent in the corporate scenario. However, there may not be any standard written laws against nepotism, and the lawsuits may have to be filed against workplace harassment, as mentioned earlier.
  • There is strong feeling of resentment; primarily towards the manager, towards the favored employee, even towards oneself, after a period of time.
  • The employee loses his will to perform well, and may even engage in unethical practices, fraud, etc.
  • He is likely to lose his capability, talent, and morality amidst this unfairness; in fact, over time, it has been observed that employees who have to put up with nepotism experience changes in their personalities as well.

On the Organization
  • A dissatisfied employee and an unethical leader is a disastrous combination for the firm.
  • The overall morale of the organization will be lowered. For instance, consider 2 employees. One faces the complete brunt of nepotism and the other (perhaps a senior) is not very greatly affected by the same. However, the first employee's condition will begin (to) discourage the second as well. He might very well think, "If he can be subjected to this behavior, I will not be left far behind.".
  • The injustice of the situation will rankle all over the office, festering a bad work culture.
  • Reduced productivity will be one of prominent negative effects, since employees will not give their best. This leads to lowered efficiency, unsatisfactory results, and a lowered output.
  • The organization will begin to observe a stunted growth due to increased conflicts and low productivity.
  • The firm will experience a loss of good, efficient employees and better ideas.
  • Breach of confidentiality is also a negative effect of nepotism. An employee who is supposed to follow the company rules, may go against them due to frustration and dissatisfaction.
  • Eventually, this will lead to bigger issues and the organization will suffer.
Examples of Nepotism
◆ You have been working hard towards a promotion. But, your manager grants his best friend a promotion ignoring you.
One day, you turn up late to the office. Your colleague, who also happens to be your boss's brother, also arrives at the same time. Yet, you are one who is reprimanded, and he is let away.
You have put in substantial effort, ideas, and time for a project, unlike your colleague and your senior's friend, who has merely given the project a perfunctory glance. Yet, your senior appreciates him instead of you.
There is an office meeting. You voice your opinion about a few work-related issues. Another person also does the same. Yet, his opinions are given preference, because he is the manager's son, despite the fact that both suggestions were more or less the same.
Assume that you are the ad hoc leader for your team and are expected to take over once the current leader leaves. At the opportune time, another person, who is your manager's relative, is called to take over the team, despite not being competent enough.
Employees must be aware of how to deal with nepotism at the workplace. If you feel you are capable but have been sidelined due to nepotism, you have every right to protest, communicate, and put forth your perspective. If you do not speak up, no one else will. As an employer, it is your duty to see to it that nepotism is not practiced at the workplace. Your employees deserve to be treated fairly without discrimination on any grounds.