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If We Do Our Job Correctly, Nobody Gets Hurt by Nepotism

  • Ronald E. Riggio (a1) and Karan Saggi (a1)

Extract

The term nepotism (and even worse, cronyism) carries a negative connotation: favoring a relative (or friend) in an employment situation without considering the individual's suitability for the job. Although there can be obvious benefits associated with hiring kin (e.g., a sense of trust, swift learning of job-relevant content, loyalty, etc.; Bellow, 2003; Jones & Stout, 2015), the term itself implies that nepotism is a bad thing, and organizations often take steps to keep bad things from happening. Jones and Stout (2015) have argued that sweeping antinepotism policies in organizations eliminate the positives associated with hiring via a social connection preference, and such policies can lead to unfair discrimination. As industrial and organizational (I-O) psychologists, however, if we do our job—and by that I mean exemplary and objective screening, hiring, and performance assessment—and if we adequately manage the negative impressions that may reside in the minds of employees regarding nepotism, nobody gets hurt.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Ronald E. Riggio, Kravis Leadership Institute, Claremont McKenna College, 850 Columbia Avenue, Claremont, CA 91711, or to Karan Saggi, Kravis Leadership Institute, Claremont McKenna College, 850 Columbia Avenue, Claremont, CA 91711. E-mail: ron.riggio@cmc.edu or ksaggi14@students.claremontmckenna.edu.

References

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Bellow, A. (2003). In praise of nepotism: A natural history. New York, NY: Doubleday.
Howard, A. (2007). Best practices in leader selection. In Conger, J. A. & Riggio, R. E. (Eds.), The practice of leadership (pp. 1140). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Jones, R. G. (Ed.). (2012). Nepotism in organizations. New York, NY: Routledge.
Jones, R. G., & Stout, T. (2015). Policing nepotism and cronyism without losing the value of social connection. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 8, 212.
London, M., Smither, J. W., & Diamante, T. (2007). Best practice in leadership assessment. In Conger, J. A. & Riggio, R. E. (Eds.), The practice of leadership (pp. 4163). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Mhatre, K., Riggio, R. E., & Riggio, H. R. (2012). Nepotism and leadership. In Jones, R. J. (Ed.), Nepotism in organizations (pp. 171198). New York, NY: Routledge
Schmidt, F. L., & Hunter, J. E. (1998). The validity and utility of selection methods in personnel psychology: Practical and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 262274. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.124.2.262

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If We Do Our Job Correctly, Nobody Gets Hurt by Nepotism

  • Ronald E. Riggio (a1) and Karan Saggi (a1)

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