According to Gómez-Mejía, Balkin, and Cardy (2012), nepotism is the practice of favoring relatives over others in the workplace. In family-owned businesses in which owners often groom sons, daughters, or other family members to take over the company, nepotism is taken for granted.  It is not uncommon for company owners to put their children in positions of power and grant them pay, titles, and privileges denied to more experienced or qualified company employees.  Naturally, this antagonizes non-family employees (p. 441).

Global Perspective of Nepotism

Nepotism is a global HR practice that gives preference in the workplace to relatives and friends of organization members in decisions such as hiring, promotions, and pay. In places such as China and Africa, nepotism has been used to favor members of one’s kinship group or tribe over others. In Western Europe and the United States, nepotism has been used to favor members of one’s family or social class. Nepotism challenges some of the core values in the U.S. workplace, such as the principles of merit and equal opportunity. Yet nepotism is still applied in the United States in business, public life, and the creative arts (Gómez-Mejía, Balkin, & Cardy, 2012, p. 463).


Gómez-Mejía, L. R., Balkin, D. B., & Cardy, R. L. (2012). Managing human resources (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.

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