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Nepotism in Recruitment and Hiring Case Study

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Updated: May 17th, 2021

Case problem summary

The main problem in the firm is nepotism, which is evidenced by the hiring of Mary Smith, a daughter of the firm’s boss, as an administrative assistant even though she does not have the skills required for the position. For the short time she has been in this position, Mary has failed to deliver her roles as required due to a mismatch of her skills and job description. This contributes to the terrible mistakes at her new workplace, including failure to be accurate in details and poor filing of documents. Subsequently, her time management skills are poor, as she cannot meet deadlines. Since she is closely related to the boss of the firm, she tends to be high-headed, which puts her in conflict with other employees, thus failing to deliver the expected duties as expected.

Job Description Required for Mary’s Position

According to Nkomo, Fottler, & McAfee (2011), it is important for a human resources manager to ensure every job description matches the skills required to perform the job. An administrative assistant’s job requires an organized approach to work, which may need efficient time management skills, good communication skills, and the ability to blend well with the team. This involves possessing good human resource expertise that would make one respond to employees’ needs effectively.

Further, an administrative assistant should be accurate to details and proactive as well as know when to seek help from a supervisor. The tasks to be handled include managing correspondence, ensuring a sufficient and efficient supply of stationeries, making and receiving telephone calls, and being the face of the organization (Nkomo, S., & Fottler, 2012).

Various skills are useful for the position of administrative assistant. Technological skills allow interface in office applications, which are necessary for maintaining correspondence, research, and the online community. Additionally, communication skills are important due to the nature of the office environment.

There is always a need to maintain contact with different clientele to keep abreast with operations, which can alternatively be delegated to other employees, such as clerks, receptionists, and typists; this is important to keep the office environment organized. Good command of the English language, both written and spoken, is important and can be boosted by taking lessons in business communication. Technical oversight skills help in ensuring the right environment is provided to meet the order and repair of office supplies. Finally, there should be proper inventory records to maintain the stock balance.

Management skills allow controlling the actions of other people and intervening in their welfare. This may need the cultivation of problem-solving skills that allow flexibility in unforeseen conflicts. Further, the administrative assistant makes appointments for the boss, maintains his/her calendar, and ensures orders to the company are delivered on time. Finally, planning skills will allow the establishment of administrative procedures that enable managing of employees’ calendars and ensure sufficient resources to sustain the company’s operations.

Steps Needed To Remedy the Situation

There is a need to lessen the effects of nepotism at the workplace, both at the personal and organizational levels. This can be achieved by imposing rules and regulations to prevent injustices at the workplace. A level playing ground that recognizes merit is important. Indeed, employees need to match the job skills and efforts made to eliminate favoritism and cronyism at the workplace (Sadozai, Zaman, Marri, & Ramay, 2012).

Managers should be in a position to exercise control over their subordinates to ensure there are discipline and compliance to rules and regulations. When relatives are not tamed, ethics will be compromised, which may lead to a betrayal of trust. An important practice, for instance, in Mary’s case, is to allow new employees to undergo a formal procedure of recruiting new staff. The boss should make it clear that no canvassing would be allowed in the recruitment process in order to eliminate the chances of hiring a relative. Measures that would discourage favoritisms would include making the relative employee learn that the job he/she has applied for is not guaranteed and distancing oneself from being part of the interview panel (Mello, 2011).

A supervisor should consider the importance of practicing work ethics, which will involve making the boss understand work policies, thus discouraging any form of favoritism. In all the hiring exercises, it is important to state clearly to all the job applicants that the company is an equal opportunity employer and that canvassing would not be tolerated at all stages of job recruitment. This can be discussed with the boss politely, and reasons should be given for not favoring his/her relative by outlining the dangers of such a practice.

Negative and Positive Effects of Nepotism at the Workplace

Mello (2011) highlights the negative effects that nepotism has on human resource management and employees’ job satisfaction. This practice affects morale, especially due to the fact that existing employees would treat any employee hired through favoritism with distrust, thus causing loss of morale and low self-esteem. When rewards are inadequate or lacking, employees would feel less appreciated and may use grapevine at the workplace to pass a message of disquiet, an effect that might degenerate to high labor turnover (Laker & Williams, 2003).

Clients are also known to rate customer satisfaction based on employee satisfaction. When an employer is rated negatively, customers may be forced to shift loyalty by quitting, hence affecting business. Importantly, salient features, such as role stress, job satisfaction in varying ways, and role strain, are some of the negative effects of nepotism at the workplace. The extent of employees’ commitment and loyalty is also low when employees fail to recognize opportunities for personal growth, which may be stifled by nepotism. Employees also face the reality of minimal career growth prospects that are likely to prevent them from committing to the company’s growth agenda. Nevertheless, when employees feel unappreciated, they may be forced to look for opportunities outside the company (Arasli, Bavic, & Ekiz, 2008).


Arasli, H., Bavic, A., & Ekiz, E. (2008). Effect of Nepotism on Human Resource Management: The case of three, four and five star hotels in Northern Cyprus. International journal of sociology and social policy, 26(7/8), 295-308.

Laker, D., & Williams, M. (2003). Nepotism’s effect on employee satisfaction and organizational commitment: an empirical study. International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management, 3(3), 191–202.

Mello, J. (2011). Strategic human resource management. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

Nkomo, S., & Fottler, M. (2012). Human resource management capstone. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

Nkomo, S., Fottler, M., & McAfee, R. (2011). Human resource management applications: Cases, exercises, incidents, and skill builders. Mason, OH: Cengage Learning.

Sadozai, A., Zaman, H., Marri, M., & Ramay, M. (2012). Impact of Favoritism and cronyism on job satisfaction. Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business, 4(6), 760-771.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Nepotism in Recruitment and Hiring." May 17, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/nepotism-in-recruitment-and-hiring/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Nepotism in Recruitment and Hiring'. 17 May.

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