Is Nepotism Good or Bad? Types of Nepotism and Implications for Knowledge Management

Family Business Review Vol. 26, No. 2, 2013 Page: 121-139

University of Alberta School of Business Research Paper No. 2013-575

21 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2013

See all articles by Peter Jaskiewicz

Peter Jaskiewicz

Independent

Nikolaus "Klaus" Uhlenbruck

University of Montana

David B. Balkin

University of Colorado at Boulder - Leeds School of Business

Trish Reay

University of Alberta - Department of Strategic Management and Organization

Date Written: June 1, 2012

Abstract

In contrast to the literature that portrays nepotism as generally problematic, we develop a conceptual model to explain why some family firms benefit from nepotism while others do not. We distinguish two types of nepotism based on how nepots are chosen. We elaborate the differences between entitlement nepotism and reciprocal nepotism. We propose that reciprocal (vs. entitlement) nepotism is associated with three family conditions that indicate generalized (vs. restricted) social exchange relationships between family members. We also suggest that generalized social exchanges are valuable to firms because they facilitate tacit knowledge management that can lead to competitive advantage.

Keywords: family business, nepotism, social exchange theory, tacit knowledge management

Suggested Citation

Jaskiewicz, Peter and Uhlenbruck, Nikolaus "Klaus" and Balkin, David B. and Reay, Trish, Is Nepotism Good or Bad? Types of Nepotism and Implications for Knowledge Management (June 1, 2012). Family Business Review Vol. 26, No. 2, 2013 Page: 121-139, University of Alberta School of Business Research Paper No. 2013-575, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2277216

Nikolaus "Klaus" Uhlenbruck

University of Montana ( email )

Missoula, MT 59812
United States

David B. Balkin

University of Colorado at Boulder - Leeds School of Business ( email )

Boulder, CO 80309-0419
United States
303-492-5780 (Phone)

Trish Reay

University of Alberta - Department of Strategic Management and Organization ( email )

Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2R6
Canada
780-492-4246 (Phone)
780-492-3325 (Fax)

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