UCL School of Management

24 January 2022

Even a suspicion of cronyism can sow discord in the workplace

Grey and black smoke cloud preventing transparency of the image.

The effects of cronyism can ripple through an organisation shaping the culture and corroding trust and workplace relations. Speaking with the Financial Times Blaine Landis explains how even the suspicion of cronyism can sow discord in the workplace.

When organisations feel they are under threat a common response is to close ranks rather than take the more difficult route and do what’s best for the organisation as a whole. It’s a natural instinct to stick together and protect those you are close to, which can result in a conflict of interest and allow crony instincts to prevail.

Blaine explains that a key to tackling the effects of cronyism is to make processes more transparent, “For people to believe outcomes are fair they have to believe the process by which they are achieved is fair,” says Blaine.

Even when an opaque process produces a good appointment, the lack of transparency can fuel the idea of underhand dealings and the belief that those appointed are not there on their merit, rather from an unfair advantage such as their network or connections.

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Last updated Tuesday, 25 January 2022