Nepotism can be found not only in workplaces and government, but also in social animals like wasps, bees, ants, termites and monkeys.In natural science, Neo-Darwinian scholars agree that nepotism significantly affects the behaviour of social organisms.
A queen bee, for example, selects individual workers to stay inside or outside the queen’s cell based on her preferential genotype.
For humans, nepotism also operates in any social classes and influences how people determine other socioeconomic rankings based on their preference on skin colours, looks and style.
Nepotism starts early. It begins with parents’ favouritism towards their children. This kind of favouritism is embedded in the children’s unconscious mind and will influence their future behaviour.
A study from Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and research firm Penn Schoen Berland showed the high prevalence of favouritism in workplaces. In interviews with 303 senior executives, researchers found that 84% confirmed that favouritism existed in their organisation.
Similar cases also happen in government bureaucracy where many people are selected based on personal validation instead of quality and qualification. As long as the selected individual fulfils the qualification, they consider nepotism an acceptable act.
Justifications for nepotism can influence how a country perceives it. In a developing country such as Ghana, nepotism is considered to be simply part of human nature.
In a developed country such as Italy, nepotism does not appear until a person goes to higher education. During university enrolment, students from a powerful family in politics will get bigger chances to be supervised by an influential professor.