What is the Difference Between Nepotism and Cronyism

The main difference between nepotism and cronyism is that the nepotism favours family members and relatives whereas the cronyism favours friends.

Favouritism is a part of human society, and it exists in any field within the social structure. Nepotism and cronyism are two such manners of favouritism. Nevertheless, both these have negative consequences such as discrimination in varied sectors.

Key Areas Covered

1. What is Nepotism 
     – Definition, Features, Examples
2. What is Cronyism
     – Definition, Features, Examples
3. What are the Similarities Between Nepotism and Cronyism
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Nepotism and Cronyism
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms

Cronyism, Favouritism, Nepotism

Difference Between Nepotism and Cronyism - Comparison Summary

What is Nepotism

Nepotism essentially refers to the act of favouring family members or one’s relatives. In brief, it means favouritism towards the members of one’s kinship. Someone in a higher position may misuse their power to promote or assist their relatives. For example, the situations when a politicians son gets a similar political position in a country, and situations when relatives of high ranking officers get easy positions in the career and other fields or favouritism in the education sectors. This happens despite the said relatives lacking the necessary qualifications or credentials.

The etymology of the word nepotism can be traced back to the Latin word ‘nepos’, which means ‘nephew’. In earlier times, this term was associated with the religious field which included the assignment of nephews to cardinal positions by Catholic popes and bishops.

Difference Between Nepotism and Cronyism

However, at present, this is widely seen in politics where some individuals, regardless of their qualifications, are employed mainly due to family ties. As a result, those who are really qualified and deserving face massive injustices in the society. This again creates inequality and unfavourable conditions in workplaces, leading to power corruption and brain drain.

What is Cronyism

Cronyism, on the contrary to nepotism, refers to the act of favouring a friend. Thus, this means favouritism based on friendship. Similarly to nepotism, in cronyism, someone who is in a higher position or someone who has influence over another, uses that power or the ability to promote and assist his or her friend.

For example, situations where someone might get a position in a company since he is a friend of the company CEO. Hence, cronyism often happens when the appointer and the beneficiary are in a social contract, where the beneficiary eventually becomes a strong ally of the appointer.

Main Difference - Nepotism vs Cronyism

Nevertheless, similar to nepotism, cronyism also bears very negative consequences, especially in the low-quality labour and other related sectors. There will also be a high level of brain-drain from a country in addition to this. Moreover, both these types are unethical and committed via corrupting the power.

Similarities Between Nepotism and Cronyism

  • Nepotism and Cronyism are types of favouritism in career or any field including politics, entertainment, business or religion.
  • Both these happen regardless of the qualifications or credentials of those being favoured.
  • Also, both bear negative consequences where the truly qualified and talented have to face the injustices in the related field, often leading to power corruptions and massive brain-drain via
  • Furthermore, these phenomena possess the ulterior motives; the main motive may be to have the beneficiary party as an ally or a confidant to the favouring party.
  • Moreover, they are unethical practices that create social discrimination.

Difference Between Nepotism and Cronyism

Definition

Nepotism refers to favouritism based on kinship while Cronyism refers to favouritism based on friendship. Thus, this describes the main difference between nepotism and cronyism.

Favouritism 

Describing the above further, nepotism includes favouritism for family members and relatives to recruit or promote to elevated positions, and to assign authorities in some field. On the other hand, cronyism includes favouritism for friends or friend’s relatives to recruit or promote to elevated positions and to assign authorities in some field.

Context

Nepotism often happens in religious, career-based, entertainment and religious sectors whereas cronyism usually happens in politics, career-based, entertainment sectors. This is another difference between nepotism and cronyism.

Conclusion

Favouritism indeed has negative consequences in varied social contexts. Nepotism and cronyism are two such manners of favouritism that differ according to the parties that benefit through these favours. Hence, the main difference between nepotism and cronyism is that nepotism favours family members and relatives whereas cronyism favours friends.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Tizian 068″ By Titian – The Yorck Project (2002) 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei (DVD-ROM), distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH. ISBN: 3936122202 (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “-44 Vulgar Zone – Cronyism (big)” By Cdyera – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Upen

Upen, BA (Honours) in Languages and Linguistics, has academic experiences and knowledge on international relations and politics. Her academic interests are English language, European and Oriental Languages, Internal Affairs and International Politics, and Psychology.

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