Distinguishing Nepotism from Cronyism

Key Difference – Nepotism vs Cronyism

Nepotism and Cronyism are two forms of favoritism that have a key difference between them. Firstly, let us define the two terms. Nepotism is favoritism shown to relatives or family members, particularly by giving them jobs. On the other hand, Cronyism is the favoritism shown to friends when appointing new positions. As you can see, while nepotism focuses on relatives, mainly family members, cronyism focuses on friends. This is the primary difference between the two terms. Through this article, let us examine the two concepts in depth and understand the differences between them.

What is Nepotism?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Nepotism is favoritism shown to relatives or family members. You may also have heard of many examples where family members or relatives were given opportunities even though they lack the necessary qualifications or credentials. Nepotism occurs in many contexts such as in organizations, politics, and sometimes even in religious contexts.

Originally, the word nepotism has its roots in the Middle Ages where key religious figures such as Bishops or Popes appointed their relatives for positions. However, in the modern world, nepotism is most apparent in the political setting where politicians favor their own family members and relatives. This primarily includes creating positions or giving jobs to family members and granting them special privileges.

Nepotism creates unfavorable conditions in workplaces as it demotivates truly talented and qualified people as they realize their promotions and career growth are hindered. This can even lead to low job performance and labor turnover.

What is Cronyism?

Cronyism is the favoritism shown to friends when appointing new positions. Similar to nepotism, cronyism is very common in organizations. However, studies highlight that both nepotism and cronyism are higher in the government sector in comparison to the private sector. It must be mentioned that even in the case of the private sector, favoritism exists for those from the same school, same university or college, etc.

In cronyism, a person who has authority abuses their power and promotes a friend for a position despite the fact that they are not qualified for the position. Some believe that beyond favoritism towards a friend, the true reason for such actions is to have an ally. Cronyism can occur in political contexts as well as organizational contexts. Sometimes cronyism in political contexts is a result of a political agenda of promoting a weaker individual who is unable to threaten one’s power. As you can observe, there exists a clear difference between nepotism and cronyism. This can be summarized as follows.

Key Takeaways

  • Nepotism is favoritism shown to relatives, especially by giving them jobs, while Cronyism is the favoritism shown to friends when appointing new positions.
  • Nepotism occurs in political, religious, and organizational contexts, whereas Cronyism takes place in both political and organizational contexts.
  • Nepotism and Cronyism can lead to unfavorable conditions in workplaces, demotivating talented and qualified individuals, leading to low job performance and labor turnover.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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