Are Cronyism and Nepotism Killing Your Workplace?

A recent article on Forbes on “The Ten Most Hated Jobs” listed Director of Information Technology as the number one hated job.

The reason?  “Nepotism, cronyism, and disrespect for workers.”

If you aren’t already familiar with the term, cronyism refers to favoritism, specifically towards friends and associates. Cronyism is the act of hiring someone because they are a friend. In some cases they are hired regardless of whether they are actually qualified to do the job. Does your workplace have a clan of the ‘good old boys’? Yep, that’s cronyism at its finest.

Although less common, nepotism is an even more specific form of favoritism. It infers favoritism to members of the family.

Both nepotism and cronyism are damaging not just to departments, but to entire workplaces. They create a sense of entitlement that can cause insubordination and disrespect for management and other employees. It also can create a drop in workplace morale. Friends of managers may feel that they deserve pay raises or opportunities ahead of more qualified employees because of the circumstances in which they were hired.

The negative consequences are that these staff members are unqualified to perform their jobs because they were hired for who they knew and not for their qualifications. And if the senior, more qualified employees discover that cronyism is distorting the pay scale, the result is increased turnover of key employees.

But the question is do these practices exist more in IT than in other industries? And has an unstable economy contributed to employees who rather work under unfavorable conditions than voice concern and risk losing their job?

Kelly Batke

Kelly is the self-confessed technology laggard who works in technology. The good news is she is slowly reaching late adopter status. Kelly enjoys learning and writing about the psychology behind technology—as in why do we buy what we buy, and how does that impact our environment?