Nepotism at the market

The casual visitor won’t be aware of it, but for someone like me who is closely associated with markets it is amazing to see the number of people working as market agents who are related in some way or other.

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There’s nothing new about this. It has been happening since the earliest days of the market agency business.

Some will say nepotism is not healthy for a business because decision-making can be compromised through family ties. This is true. Nepotism can also impede a firm’s growth if somebody outside the family who has the ability and experience is overlooked because a family member got the job. This has a ripple effect, affecting the morale of other employees. After all, what’s the point of going the extra mile if family ties block your chances of advancement? This is the downside of nepotism.

Not all bad
On the plus side, I can think of a number of family ‘units’ that work very successfully. This becomes particularly noticeable when looking at the all-important trust relationships that exist between farmers and market salespeople.
A father might have spent most of his working life establishing and building those relationships. They have become the core of the business and he does not want things to collapse when he retires. It’s a natural thing for him to groom his son – or daughter – to take over from him.

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Who’s right for the job?
We all know of examples where the baton has been successfully passed to the next generation, or where father and son are successfully working together as the ‘old man’ gradually allows his son to take over. They are protecting their family’s interests, which makes sense, but the question remains: could a non-family member perhaps have done a better job?

An astute manager of a market agency will consider all options and try to ensure the best person for the job.

The best course of action is to have a clear-cut policy for career development for all employees, including family members!