Episode # 124 – Why is “Nepotism” dangerous for an organization’s growth and sustainability? Vidura’s hard-hitting explanation!!!


In the previous episode we had witnessed Vidura’s excellent explanation on a contemporary concept in modern day leadership theory – Charismatic Leadership. Vidura clearly explains how do leaders develop that “Charisma” within them. In this context he says that a king should be compassionate enough towards his subjects who come and meet him. Only then his subjects would hail him as a good and a righteous king. Although at times the king might be a successful person, but if he is without this compassion towards his people, it transforms into a dictatorship rule and this is not advisable. If this happens, the people would be dissatisfied and eventually the kingdom would face law and order problems.

Similarly applying Vidura’s explanation in today’s management context, a leader should exhibit warmth, love and compassion towards all his employees or subjects. Such leaders are hailed and regarded extremely high by their followers. In fact, people even go to an extent of following such people blindly. They get attracted to the leader’s unconditional love and compassion towards them and this is how “Charisma” is built. Such leaders who score extremely high in terms of their personal “charisma” are termed in today’s leadership theory as “Charismatic leaders”.

“Su pushpitaha syaadhaphalaha phalitastyaath duraaruhaha!”

Now Vidura moves on and continues to emphasize an allied point here. He uses another analogy to drive home this important point. We shall first look into the analogy and after this I shall explain the point behind it.

Here goes the analogy: Assume there is a tree. It produces lot of beautiful and blossoming flowers. However there are no fruits that germinate in that tree. Many a times although this tree doesn’t produce tasty fruits, people would admire the tree for its beautiful flowers and hail it. However, if another tree nearby is capable of producing nice tasty fruits, however it is way too tall for people to pluck those fruits, people would still admire the tree for its fruits by saying that, “Oh! I’m not tall enough to pluck those attractive fruits!”

Now with this analogy Vidura explains and advises King Dhirdiraashtra thus, “Oh King! Irrespective of whether you perform well as an administrator or not, is still acceptable and can be pardoned! However, why are you using such insulting words against the innocent Paandavas? Why are your words in such a way that they instigate fire? Why don’t you take care of the words that you use? If you’ve to earn a reputation amongst your subjects that you are a righteous king, first of all bring a pleasant smile on your face. Speak good words. Perform some good actions. Please act as a neutral person, and this is an extremely important characteristic of a righteous king. If the king is biased towards one party and rejects another, how can he be true to all his people? Oh King Dhirdiraashtra! By your actions so far, you’re only proving to the world that you are totally biased towards your son Duryodhana who is born crooked and wicked. However, you are ignoring and neglecting those Paandavas who are none other than your own brother’s sons! They are kind-hearted gentlemen and because of that, you are taking them for a ride! This is not good on the behest of a righteous and a neutral king! Thus a king should always be having a neutral point of view, analyze the situation with a neutral eye and then take a decision accordingly. If a king earns a reputation of being biased, he loses trust amongst his people and eventually would be overthrown in no time!”

How important is this advice in today’s context! In the modern day management, we talk of something called as “Nepotism”, wherein a leader of an organization might favor those people who are his kith and kin for the job. In other words, if a leader recruits people not based on their merit, but on the basis of the closeness to him or her, it might be detrimental to the organization.

How? We’ve to analyze this in two ways – One way of looking at it is that, if existing employees come to know that some other top level employees who are newly recruited are the “favourites” of the CEO or any other top level person, they lose the trust on their leader. This is because, these employees have toiled hard and worked for the organization for many years and awaiting a legitimate promotion. In this scenario if suddenly a new person from outside comes and fills up a top level position without any prior experience, but only because of his/her closeness to the top management, employees would be demotivated and naturally would start to revolt. This might create a chaotic situation in the organization and possibilities are high that the organization would eventually collapse.

Another way of looking at it is that, if a new joinee in the top level is a “favourite” of the CEO, but without adequate experience to be in that position, how will he/she handle tough situations and take tough decisions? Won’t the organization get into trouble because of this “inexperience”? Leaders should thus think about these shortcomings due to “Nepotism” and act accordingly.

Thus from today’s episode, the important message for all leaders is that, “Nepotism” is bad and detrimental to the growth of any organization and hence should be avoided. Care should be taken so that, family members or close friends are not given an undue upper hand in any position in the organization. Of course if they are really talented people, they should follow the due procedure of recruitment and selection and then get to that position with due respect. So for today, let us think about this important aspect of nepotism and its detrimental effects. We shall wait till the next episode to find out more of Vidura’s such beautiful explanations! Stay tuned! 🙂



Published by Dr. Jeayaram

Holds a PhD in Management Psychology from Universite Paris Saclay, Paris, France. Also an Asst. Professor of Human Resources management at International School of Business & Media, Pune, India. A professional South Indian classical musician (singer) performing concerts. Through this blog, I'm trying to bring out the richness of Indian culture & values and I request your support and feedbacks in making this humble effort a success!!

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