Free «Nepotism» Essay Sample

Problems that Mary Smith Caused in her Short Tenure with the Company

When Ms. Smith was hired, other employees were enraged, because they assumed that the executive may show favoritism towards her regardless of her competence and performance. Three weeks in her tenure, Ms. Smith has misfiled documents, has been late with her initial assignments, and has frequently socialized with specific employees against the code of work conduct. Within a very short period of time, Mary’s behavior has already caused more problems than it has solved. Overall, Ms. Smith has caused competing interests and complicated the management process, creating tension, potentially leading to conflict.

Ms. Smith brought a fear factor into the organization, and other employees were not comfortable with this. This implied that other employees could no longer express their ideas freely. Hiring her created relations of subordination between members of the organization and enhanced conflict of interest within the company, which worsened the company’s efficiency. Cascarino (2012) says that the quality of work may suffer as a result of hiring her, because there is no drive to improve personal performance, given that employer’s preference is given to his personal relationships, and not employees’ merits. Mary Smith’s appointment in the organization can lead to conflict should multiple groups of interests develop. Her appointment can also lead to a degradation of work ethics, as competing teams may end up seeking to gain advantage over each other.

Job Description of her Role as Administrative Assistant

Job description is a written explanation of tasks, duties, and responsibilities of a particular employee or job candidate. Masters & Wallace (2010) note that job description lets Mary understand her responsibilities as an administrative assistant. A detailed job description will enable Mary to assess the importance of everything she is accountable for and will provide a sense of how she fits into the company as a whole.

Job Description: Administrative Assistant

General Descriptions:

The administrative assistant will handle documents and file reports of the company. The candidate will possess a broad knowledge of office administration, reporting, organizing workflow and organizing meetings. The candidate should be highly experienced in providing exceptional customer service and serve other employees well.   

Primary job function:

The administrative assistant will relieve the management of administrative detail and compose correspondence and reports. He or she will supervise the work of office staff who report to the administrative assistant.

Required skills:

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  • Have excellent skills of creating and compiling reports.
  • Be able to maintain inventory and supplies.
  • Ability to coordinate work flow within the organization 
  • Capacity to handle routine correspondence
  • Strong written and verbal skills
  • Ability to handle other employees professionally

Desired skills:

Experience in handling accounting reporting systems such as Sage and QuickBooks and prepare presentations. He or she must be able to handle and maintain the company’s inventory and supplies.


2+ years experience as an administrative assistant or equivalent position.        


The qualification is a high school diploma in office administration or equivalent.

Work Status:

Full time


Position requires minimal travel (10% travels)


Reports to the supervisor, in the customer service department.

Steps to Resolve this Situation

The situation can be resolved without involving the founder by making sure that Ms. Smith receives help from a mentor. The mentor will guide her personal development in a new role within the company. Warner (2004) noted that a mentor should not necessarily be a supervisor. He or she will pay attention to both her progress and initial problems that may crop up. Mentoring will not be a formal process; an experienced person will simply be asked to look after a new employee (Warner, 2004). This will ensure that Ms. Smith feels comfortable in the company and gets the necessary training and feedback she needs to do an excellent job. 

Ms. Smith’s mentor will offer advice, answer her questions, help her understand the company’s culture, share expertise and experiences, and serve as a role model. Masters & Wallace (2010) noted that, in this scenario, Mary Smith’s mentor will be a very valuable resource who will help her quickly learn the rules, and expectations of the organization. As a supervisor, I would strongly recommend Ms. Smith to take advantage of on-the-job training opportunities for new employees. In addition, I would offer Ms. Smith to consider taking courses or participating in webinars in human relations, public speaking, and team building (Masters & Wallace, 2010). 

The Negative and Positive Effects for Hiring an Unqualified Relative

Hiring an unqualified individual who is related to the founder of the company can cause problems. Such behavior establishes a new standard, where promotion in the company is no longer based on merit. In most cases hiring an unqualified relative is destructive for employees’ morale. One of the fundamental negative effects is that good employees may decide to leave the company. Cascarino (2012) says that such behavior can demoralize other employees and feel pressured to demonstrate a high level of performance that would not normally be sought in those with special relation-based benefits. The positive effect of hiring an employee who is related to the founder of the company is that it is a simple way of avoiding recruitment costs and a quick way of filling vacancies. In addition, when a business is living a start-up phase, it is common for relatives to work harder for less pay and benefits than non-family employees (Cascarino, 2012). The assumption behind hiring an unqualified individual who is related to the founder of the company is that trust, loyalty, and responsibility is guaranteed by having relatives at work. 

Creating a workforce made up of family members and friends can result in importing relationship difficulties and decreasing loyalty. Dale (2006) noted that such hires can lead to employees’ suspicion of deals being done outside of work, because family members or relatives have more space to communicate. Hiring an unqualified individual who is related to a founder of the company can lead to unfair discrimination. Warner (2004) noted that to hire competent family members while avoiding the corrosive effects of nepotism, it is important to separate the perks of ownership from those of employment. People related to the founder should be paid exactly the same amount as anyone else doing the same job. Warner (2004) says that the same even-handed approach should be applied when setting schedules, assigning work and handling out criticism and praise.


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