Reasons for the crisis of Professional Ethics (Nepotism, favoritism etc.)

24/07/2022 0 By indiafreenotes

Nepotism and corruption are regarded as acts which are unethical and morally wrong. Corruption is the abuse of public resources, which can be monetary or non monetary in nature, for the private gains. Nepotism is favoring the people who are directly or indirectly related to the office bearer causing inequality in access to adequate means of livelihood.

They are considered unethical because:

  1. Against the principles of equality enshrined in the constitution.
  2. Private gain regarded more important than societal gain.
  3. Gives rise to anti social elements in the society.
  4. Undermines the rule of law.
  5. Against the public service goals of impartiality, dedication, neutrality and public good.
  6. Disregards the principles of socialism as advocated by DPSPs.

The effects of Nepotism on society are:

  1. Further breeds malaise such as poverty, inequality, social tensions and political unrest.
  2. Promotes the ‘getting the work done by hook or by crook’ culture.
  3. Erosion of faith in the constitution and values enshrined within.
  4. Generation of black money.
  5. National security can be jeopardized by such acts in higher echelons of policy making.
  6. Erodes the ethical values such as honesty, empathy, sincerity.
  7. Nepotism also leads to corruption and vice-versa.

The basic concern about nepotism in business is that it contradicts typical customs in employment to hire and promote the most qualified candidate for a job. While a son, daughter or nephew may be the most capable employee, nepotism sometimes leads to relatives getting jobs when other candidates have stronger education and work experience. Even when a relative is most qualified, hiring him may give the impression of nepotism.

Business Structure

The ethics of nepotism in business have a lot to do with the business structure. A family business, often established as a sole proprietorship, partnership or S corporation, typically means you own and control the operation by yourself or with family members who are partners. If you partner with nonfamily members or formalize a corporation with shareholders, the business takes on a formal standing that is distinct from your involvement. In these cases, nepotism is more questionable because other parties have an ownership stake or vested interest in the operation.

Policy Consistency

In large companies, nepotism isn’t inherently wrong, although some people believe it is unethical in all cases. A 2009 Family Business Institute article noted that companies may benefit from nepotism if it consistently enforces fair policies. In a small organization, employees are often hired from internal referrals rather than formal job postings. Some companies encourage referrals of family members and friends to open positions. The ethics in this type of culture relate to the company’s consistency in accepting family referrals and giving candidates fair access to jobs.

Practical Matters

Along with the ethical nature of nepotism, you need to consider the practical business matters. While family businesses often establish legacies from multiple generations of family involvement, not all companies benefit from nepotistic behaviors. In some cases, well-meaning owners or operators hire underqualified, unmotivated family members that aren’t worth what they are paid. Even worse, they undermine the workplace culture and increase the burden on other staff. Balancing your desire to help family while managing a successful business is key.

Tracking Nepotism:

  • Nepotism has a social origin. From ages, human species as been ‘nepotistic’ in the sense that it has been passing its socio-economic-political legacy to its next generations.
  • Humans try to control the sources of prosperity-may it be movable or immovable property, social status, political power, for the benefit of its kith and kin.
  • The divine theory of kingship in ancient and medieval ages was considered ethical and natural. The political power remained in a certain family based on the divine rights notion and the concept of primogeniture.
  • The property has been transferred based on inheritance since the birth of institutions of family and kin.
  • Profession-wise, there has been a division of labor and functional specialty of families/communities all-over the world.
  • In the West, ancient philosophers like Plato talk about three different kinds of men with natural qualities to performs certain tasks.
  • In India too, the root of family/community monopoly over a certain craft/business has been since the Post-Vedic period.
  • The separation since the beginning of the post-Vedic period further transformed into caste-system which can be termed as a structural nepotism rooted in religious notions of purity and human qualities.
  • Technically, the above systems cannot be called nepotism but the ideologies of functional specialty, the ability to gain that specialty and its kith and kin based monopoly was considered natural. The modern form of this social sanction is nepotism.
  • The consequent social progress and rising complexity of structures in polity, economy, and social hierarchies, these natural traits claimed and monopolized by powerful sections everywhere.
  • By this logic, nepotism is a close relative of monopoly. Nepotism leads to monopoly and monopoly breeds further nepotism.
  • Everywhere around the world, the medieval feudal structure was nepotistic where certain families and kin claimed the monopoly over different socio-economic-political functions.
  • This societal sanction to the idea of monopoly was challenged by the Renaissance and enlightenment and discarded by the political revolution of democracy.
  • The freedom to choose ones’ own destiny without any societal and structural-institutional hindrance and the right to choose are the hallmarks of democracy.
  • Here comes the problem with traditional genetic rights and placing family/related members in the positions of common ownership, hence the problem with nepotism.
  • Today, democratic societies do not accept nepotism in the fields of common ownership and democratic decision making, political and administrative structures.
  • This heightened belief in equality in every aspect is the basis of criticism of nepotism in today’s society.

Types of Nepotism

Placing one’s own relatives or the persons with whom one has conflict of interest at positions of power based on personal bias is nepotism. The types are

Political Nepotism

A politician promoting or placing his/her immediate and extended relatives in political posts.

Administrative nepotism

A government employee/bureaucrat appointing his acquaintance/relative on government jobs.

Contractors related to public authorities/representatives of the people getting government contracts.

Nepotism in Economic sectors

A majority owner of a joint-stock company promoting his son/daughter for ownership/highest decision-making positions.

Entertainment Industries

In open professional communities like film industries, producers, directors, production companies preferring industry kids over talented and hard-working outsiders.

Ethical concerns around nepotism

  • The issue of nepotism comes with, among other downfalls, a degradation of the ethics and moral degeneration of society and institutions.
  • The more dangerous issue is that nepotism is often left out of ethics codes because it does not seem unethical to the majority of the population. Another reason for leaving nepotism out is that it very so common in every society.
  • Nepotism leads to serious harm to the principle of equality of opportunity in every field it is practiced.
  • It leads to neglect of fairness as the principle of operation.
  • In politics, there is a massive degradation of democracy and legitimacy of the rule of law to produce desired results of redistributive justice.
  • The highest form of nepotistic structure is a kind of crony capitalism where dynasties in politics and the corporate world get together to appropriate resources and wealth that should in reality belong to the people in the country.
  • In administrative structure, it hampers commitment to the rule of law, disbanding of integrity and impartiality.
  • It creates a sense of despair in the victims of the nepotist system in politics, business, entertainment industry.
  • The victims have to cope with the extreme stress of competition. They mostly either accept the condition and get adjusted to it or very few cannot sustain the shattering of innocent dreams and take the unfortunate route of suicide as in the case of Sushant Singh Rajput.
  • Nepotism is harmful to the system itself, as devoid of quality and character in its flagbearers, the structure cannot sustain itself for long. The dynastic parties become fetters on the new movements and die soon, corporate offices bear losses, administration loses efficiency and art does not satisfy the art-lovers: films don’t do well at the box office and so on.

Impacts of nepotism

There is a loss of belief in democracy when the political spectrum is full of dynasts. It degrades the democratic system and democracy itself faces legitimacy crises. The result is extremist anti-state movements like Naxalite and Maoist movements.

  • Corruption is a big fallout of nepotism. The symbiotic relationship of nepotism and corruption can be seen in the corruption perception index where most of the third-world countries with dynastic politics fare very badly.
  • The nepotism also breaks the governance system as the dearth of quality administrators at every stage of hierarchy makes good governance impossible. Quality of human resources is the pre-condition of good governance.
  • The economic development of a market dominated country suffers due to nepotism in corporate structures of big and small business houses. The interconnected economic sectors also suffer.
  • Nepotism kills entrepreneurial zeal if the majority of investment is directed to create monopolies and nurture nepotism. The thriving startups either cannot sustain the competition or taken over by powerful conglomerates built on nepotism.
  • The societal effect of nepotism can be seen in continuing caste and religious hindrances in progress. The relation between nepotism and caste lobbies in organizational structures is very subtle and that is not often discussed extensively.