Competing for employment

Many individuals are far too familiar with the feeling of desperately scattering seeds of their personality from one job interview to the next, hoping that one of these impressions will resonate with an employer and blossom into an employment opportunity. As summer itself comes to fruition, college students in particular will begin suiting up for career fairs and disseminating copies of their stately resumes. While some individuals have inherited the seemingly good fortune of an employment offer from a family business, those intending to secure employment through means of bloodline may not experience such luck in the long run based upon the latest nepotism-related research findings

According to a recent study published by the Social Science Research network, one third of public firms in the United States have reported the existence of familial ties either among directors or “between directors and other employees” within their organization. The authors’ analysis illuminates the unfavorable financial practices often utilized by nepotism-laden organizations, exposing the higher likelihood of these firms forgoing “valuable investment opportunities” in contrast to their peers.

Additional reliable sources have referenced the individual and societal factors associated with nepotism, such as The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology’s publication Nepotism in Organizations.According to the authors, a relative (or beneficiary) employee’s self-assessment of his or her professional competence tends to be much lower in contrast to the rest of the non-relative organizational population. The Society also contends that the nepotistic hiring practice correlates with decreased perceptions of fairness, lowered satisfaction, and plummeting perceptions of beneficiaries’ competence experienced by the rest of the organization.

Individuals typically deem a practice unfair so long as it infringes upon the rights of other people. Similarly, an environment of inequality is cultivated as the unethical behavior of few is tolerated by the many. Thus, one may argue that nepotism directly violates the rights of other parties within an organization by perpetuating systemic inequality in the workplace. Unfair hiring practices create conflicts of interest for members of the corporate leadership, in turn curtailing sentiments of organizational trust.

In certain contexts, U.S. law recognizes the negative repercussions of favoritism within industry. Legislative bans on nepotism in agencies such as the U.S. government reflect this emphasis; however, some exceptions illuminate the inherent vagueness of such policies. For instance, President Trump’s appointment of his son-in-law Jared Kushner as White House advisor. Despite the declaration in 5 U.S.C. § 3110, proclaiming that a public official may neither appoint, nor advocate for the employment or advancement of relatives, the Department of Justice contends that President Trump’s hiring decision did not create a conflict of interest by means of nepotism.

Thus, it is advised that one ought not accept employment offers or promotions extended on the basis of familial ties. Additionally, those considering employment within a nepotism-laden agency may want to recalculate their career path in order to fully enjoy the fruits of their labor in the long-term. The satisfactory short-term individual rewards acquired as a result of succumbing to or supporting this hiring practice are immensely outweighed by the adverse long-term consequences revealed by recent research.