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Title: Antecedents and consequences of nepotism : a social psychological exploration
Author: Rajpaul-Baptiste, Cindy
ISNI:       0000 0004 7969 936X
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2018
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Nepotism is a phenomenon that has engulfed the nature of work in private-and public-sector organisations for centuries. Nepotism is not limited to third world countries; it occurs both in individualistic and collectivistic cultures. So, it is a worldwide issue which needs addressing in today's society. In spite of the relevance and vast reach of nepotism, psychological studies into the concept are scant. It remains largely unknown why some people endorse nepotistic practices, whereas others do not. Similarly, the consequences of nepotism for individuals and organisations remain poorly understood. The aim of this thesis is to contribute towards addressing these gaps. This thesis starts by examining psychological constructs that predict variations in the perception and endorsement of nepotism between individuals (Study 1) and countries (Study 2). Studies 3 and 4 investigate the actual and perceived consequences of nepotism on employees. The aim of the studies is to advance the research body around nepotism by adopting a psychological perspective examining the genesis of nepotism at an individual and country level to aid our understanding of antecedents and consequences of nepotism. Findings from Study 1 highlight that Social Dominance Orientation (SDO) - a psychological trait that reflects a preference for inequality and social stratification - is instrumental in predicting attitudes towards nepotism; the higher the levels of SDO possessed by an individual the more they are inclined to endorse nepotistic practices. Findings from Study 2, a cross-cultural study, further underscore the importance of social dominance and power distance in promoting individual- and country-level differences in the endorsement of nepotism. India a high-power distance country with a collectivist culture had the highest prevalence and endorsement of nepotism when compared to the USA, with Trinidad and Greece falling in between the former two countries. Variations in SDO and family orientation contributed to explain individual-level variations in the endorsement of nepotism as well as differences between countries. Studies 3 and 4 examine the role of qualifications as a factor that may moderate the consequences of nepotism for individuals and organisations. Study 3 indicates that individuals recruited through nepotistic means and suitably qualified thrive in their jobs; they have higher levels of performance, enhanced well-being and experience greater levels of autonomy and control. In contrast, individuals hired through nepotistic means without suitable levels of qualification showed evidence of poor psychological well-being, lower levels of autonomy and control, and underperformance. All in all, the study highlights potential benefits and drawbacks of nepotistic hirings and the crucial role of qualifications in determining whether nepotism produces positive or negative outcomes. Probing the perceived consequences of nepotism with and without qualifications, Study 4 showed that people appear to have a limited understanding of the importance of qualifications for determining employees' well-being and levels of autonomy and control. The thesis concludes with a discussion of contributions, limitations, and areas for future research.
Supervisor: Weick, Mario Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available