Difference Between Nepotism and Cronyism

Key Difference – Nepotism vs Cronyism
 

Nepotism and Cronyism are two forms of favoritism between which a key difference can be identified. First let us define the two words. Nepotism is favoritism shown to relatives or family members especially by giving them jobs. On the other hand, Cronyism is the favoritism shown to friends when appointing for new positions. As you can see, while nepotism focuses on relatives; mainly family members, cronyism focuses on friends. This is the key difference between the two words. Through this article let us examine the two concepts in depth and comprehend the difference that lies between the two words.

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 although they lack the necessary qualifications or credentials. Nepotism takes place 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 clearly seen in the political setting where politicians favor their own family members and relatives. This mostly includes creating positions or giving jobs for family members and granting them special privileges.

Nepotism creates an unfavorable condition in workplaces as it demotivates the 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.

Difference Between Nepotism and Cronyism

What is Cronyism?

Cronyism is the favoritism shown to friends when appointing for 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 his power and promotes a friend for a position in spite of the fact that he is 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 take place 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 Difference - Nepotism vs Cronyism

What is the difference between Nepotism and Cronyism?

Definitions of Nepotism and Cronyism:

Nepotism: Nepotism is favoritism shown to relatives especially by giving them jobs.

Cronyism: Cronyism is the favoritism shown to friends when appointing for new positions.

Characteristics of Nepotism and Cronyism:

Favoritism:

Nepotism: In Nepotism, the favoritism is shown relatives.

Cronyism: In Cronyism, the favoritism is shown to friends.

 Context:

Nepotism: Nepotism occurs in political, religious and organizational contexts.

Cronyism: Cronyism takes place in both political and organizational contexts.

 

Image Courtesy

1. “Melozzo da Forlì 001” by Melozzo da Forlì – The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH.. [Public Domain] via Commons

2. PSTech Belgrade workplace By Дарко Максимовић (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons