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What is Nepotism? Understand the Definition of Nepotism According to Some Experts!

Hiring a close relative or family member into your company can be tricky. It can be difficult for existing employees to accept that, regardless of your reasons for hiring them.

To provide your employees with fair and equal opportunities within the company, you need to understand unethical workplace behaviors to anticipate them early on. Nepotism is one of the unethical behaviors to watch out for in the workplace. 

Read this article further to learn about what nepotism is and how it affects the harmony of your workplace. 

What is Nepotism? 

To understand the meaning of nepotism, consider some of the definitions according to several sources below.

Nepotism is every act of a State Organizer against the law that benefits the interests of his family or cronies above the interests of the community, nation and state.

Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI)

Nepotism is taken from the words nepos and otis, which means grandson, descendant or cousin. This term then experienced an expansion of meaning as behavior that shows excessive liking for close relatives.

So, nepotism is a tendency to put your own brother first, especially in your position, or rank in the government work environment .

 Nepotism means personnel management which describes a system starting from appointment, placement, appointment to promotion on the basis of blood ties, family or close friends.


According to Cambridge, nepotism can be interpreted as an act of using power or influence to get work or injustice to benefit your group or family.

Nepotism is a practice among people who have power or influence to benefit their relatives or friends, especially in terms of providing jobs.

Features of Nepotism 

A person in a position of power may employ their family members for a variety of reasons. Likewise, family members may accept the position for various reasons. You can identify practices and examples of nepotism by paying attention to the following characteristics:

  • The implementation of a position carried out in an authoritarian manner.
  • Placement or giving certain positions that are not based on ability/expertise, but on closeness or family relationships.
  • There is dishonesty in carrying out the assigned tasks. For example, not providing opportunities for other people who have the same rights and abilities.
  • There are gaps and injustices in the implementation of work or the provision of facilities. For example, certain people who do less and easier jobs are actually paid higher wages. 

The Impact of Nepotism in the Work Environment

From the characteristics above, it can be seen that this term has a negative connotation. So what are the effects of nepotism in the workplace? Here is the review.

Creating an Unhealthy Work Environment

Nepotism creates an unhealthy work environment where employees feel belittled. This can occur when someone in an executive or manager position hires a family member for a position and provides them with benefits or responsibilities that other employees do not accept.

This can create feelings of resentment towards family members and managers.

Lowering Morale 

If nepotism occurs in your workplace, it can affect job satisfaction and employee opinions about the company. If one person starts showing low morale, other employees will do the same. The result is a lack of loyalty and dedication to the job at hand.

Lowering Work Productivity

Other impacts can lead to a decrease in employee productivity for various reasons. First, productivity declines can occur because managers allow their unqualified family members to participate in job positions they do not have.

This can be fatal, employees can lower their work ethic because they feel their work is not appreciated.

Increase Turnover Rate

If a company allows nepotism to occur, talented employees may look for job opportunities elsewhere. This can be a big problem for the company because it limits the opportunities for good and hardworking employees to help your company become successful.


So what is nepotism? Based on the explanation above, it can be concluded that nepotism is a process in which someone in power uses their influence in a company to hire unqualified family members rather than promote talented employees.

This action will certainly create an unhealthy work environment so that other employees feel uncomfortable.

However, it is important to note that not every managerial recruitment of friends or relatives is nepotism. If the recruited friend or relative is experienced, competent, and hardworking, it cannot be considered nepotism.

However, it specifically refers to scenarios where the relevant employee is not suitable for the position and is unfairly advantaged in the workplace.

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