The Truth About Favoritism, Nepotism and Fraternization


This paper is an essay on the topic “The truth about favoritism”. The paper discusses different aspects of favoritism, nepotism, and fraternization. The paper also discusses how the presence of these factors affects the smooth functioning of the organization. The code of ethics in organizations and the influence of the code of ethics on the morale of the employees are also discussed here. The paper also attempts to make an understanding of the ethical behavior in cyberspace. The paper is designed in such a way that first there is an introduction followed by the body of the paper and at the end the conclusion.

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Though there have been revolutionary changes in organizational behavior and human resource management in organizations, there are some areas that are still not changed and act as obstacles in the growth and development of organizations. Among these, favoritism is the one problem faced by most organizations. Favoritism affects the smooth functioning of the organization in different ways. Some problems caused by favoritism are denial or delay of promotion for those who deserve that, loss of opportunity of skilled and apt candidates due to biased recruitment…etc.

Favoritism or nepotism and its effect on employees and organization

Favoritism is the attitude of showing preference to persons who are known to the decision-makers, such as friends and relatives. It can be defined as “the practice of giving preferential treatment to a person or persons.” (Favoritism, 2009).

Favoritism is a phenomenon that is now witnessed in most organizations. Favoritism helps a person to receive a promotion easily than another person who deserves it. Favoritism can result in a person with less skill and experience getting better treatment and promotion than a person with more skill and experience. Favoritism reduces the morale of employees. Favoritism de-motivates the employees. Favoritism makes employees lose interest in their job. Favoritism results in lower productivity. It can result in efficient employees leaving the organization. Favoritism can result in more pay for less efficient workers and less pay for more efficient workers. If skilled employees leave the organization, it will badly affect the smooth functioning of the organization. It can create a bad image for the company affecting its reputation. The element of favoritism in some of the employees of the organization may affect the performance of the entire organization. (Employee favoritism: Favoritism is a fast track to employee resentment, n.d.).

Employees feel that they have been discriminated against for no fault of theirs. Favoritism results in unfair promotion practices. Favoritism results in a person with more qualities being neglected and a person with fewer qualities being awarded a job. Favoritism also occurs in the form of gender. Some employees give favorable consideration to male employees as they feel that women are unfit for the job. Such a biased attitude can reduce the morale of female employees. Favoritism results in unfair recruitment practices. Companies adopt their own practices in the selection of employees. All these will tarnish the image of the company. Favoritism results in absenteeism as employees will not be interested in working with such companies.

Fraternization and its effect on employees and organization

Fraternization refers to the deep relationship between employees working in the same organization. Fraternization is harmful to a company as employees often indulge in dating than carrying out their tasks. The productivity of such employees will reduce. Companies may not be able to achieve their targets which ultimately results in creating a bad image for the company. If employees marry and have children, one spouse may leave the company to take care of the children. In such a case, the company has to spend more money on recruiting someone in place of that employee. Sometimes the word fraternization is used to denote association by two or more individuals for acting against the interest of the organization they work for. (Fraternize, 2009). Fraternization will affect the efficient operation of an organization and thereby resulting in a decrease in productivity.

Influence of favoritism in hiring

Hiring is the practice of selecting the required number of employees fit for an organization. Favoritism is widely practiced in recruitment. Some employers have their own policies for showing favoritism when it comes to recruitment. Employers may hire a less skilled person which requires more skill and knowledge, only because that person is known to the employer. Such recruitment practices badly affect the company. The company may not be able to hire highly skilled employees if it shows favoritism. As a result, the company will lose the services of highly skilled employees. The employee hired out of favoritism may receive more benefits from the company. There is a chance of that employee receiving more remuneration than the other employees. This results in pay discrimination among the employees. As a result, the efficient employees may leave the company. They may feel that they are not getting proper value for their work. They will be de-motivated towards their work. It will affect the productivity of efficient employees. In such a case, the company may fail to achieve its goals which will create a bad image for the company. Absenteeism will be more among such employees who feel that they are not being treated fairly.

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Influence of favoritism in promotion

Promotion is the process of assigning an employee with a higher task and to a higher position with more compensation. Favoritism is seen in promotion also. Employees selected out of favoritism may receive more benefits than other employees. An employee may be promoted to a higher position with less skill and experience than another employee with more skill and experience. This is totally a kind of discrimination. They may feel that their work has not been given proper value. A less skilled person may attain a higher position through favoritism. It will affect the decision-making process of the company. This will create a bad impression about the company in the minds of the people. If a company shows favoritism in the promotion of employees, efficient employees may leave the organization. Job satisfaction is less for such employees. They will look for companies that do not follow such practices.

Morale and favoritism

The moral of the employees will be negatively affected due to favoritism or nepotism. Favoritism is considered as toxicity affecting the morale of the employees. For instance, if an employee who deserves a promotion is not promoted due to biased behavior of the supervisor or the concerned authority that is entrusted with the promotion of the employees, it will affect the morale of the employee who has been denied promotion. This will definitely affect the morale of the employee resulting in negatively affecting the smooth functioning of the organization.

The Good Ole Boy Syndrome

It is a syndrome found in some organizations which affect the smooth functioning of the organization. “A good ol’ boy syndrome is one where one person sort of looks out for another.” (Snyder, 2007, para.2)

The term Good ole boy is a colloquial word used to describe white males in America leading a rural lifestyle. In other words, they are living traditionally.

The term good ole boy syndrome refers to one who supports others for getting some benefits either financial or non-financial. The organizations are really affected by those who have this good ole boy syndrome. Though this can create a friendly relationship between the individuals included in the good ole syndrome network, it may raise problems like nepotism or favoritism. (Microsemi- “you need to be friends with upper management to success here”, 2009).

Ethical behavior issues of favoritism and fraternization

Issues of ethical behavior are very important in an organization. All the staff is supposed to be ethical in their acts so that they can ensure a fair working environment. “Ethical issues are a major concern for organizations because of the far-reaching impacts they can have on customers, shareholders, employees, and the overall company.” (How to improve ethics in a global economy, 2009, para.1).

Showing favoritism towards some employees is unethical. The question of whether it is ethical to show favoritism means that whether it is right or wrong to show favoritism towards some employees. Showing favoritism towards an employee means ignoring another employee or other employees. It is against the code of conduct. Organizations are supposed to wipe out favoritism inside the organizations in various matters like recruitment, promotion…etc.

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There are different laws and rules preventing favoritism in an organization. These laws and rules protect the employees from being the victims of favoritism by the boss or supervisors. The federal government takes seriously the problems relating to discrimination in workplace including favoritism. One who has been victimized for favoritism can go ahead with legal action. The federal law provides all legal protection. The government designed the labor laws in such a way that they consider the interest of the aggrieved employees.

In cyberspace also, ethical behavior is significant. The ethical issues include privacy of data, violation of cyber laws…etc. “In terms of personal privacy, IT enables data exchange of information on a large scale from anybody, on any locations or parts of the world, at any times.” (Gunarto, n.d., p.2).


The management of an organization should take necessary steps to eliminate favoritism, nepotism and fraternization in the organization. If there is a presence of bias or favoritism in an organization, it will affect the smooth functioning of the organization. If superiors show favoritism towards certain employees by way of giving non-deserving promotions or like that, this will affect the morale and loyalty of other employees resulting in a decrease in their productivity. Also, the organizations should be ready to abide by the laws and rules of the government, relating to providing a good working atmosphere.


  1. Employee favoritism: Favoritism is a fast track to employee resentment. (n.d.). AE: Anonymous Employee- Helping to Solve Your Problem at Work. Web.
  2. Favoritism. (2009). The Free Dictionary. Web.
  3. Fraternize. (2009). The Free Dictionary. Web.
  4. How to improve ethics in a global economy. (2009). Career Women, Inc.
  5. Microsemi- “you need to be friends with upper management to success here.” (2009).
  6. Snyder, E. (2007). Government: Good ol’ boys run city, at least in minds of many. The Leaf
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