The purpose of this study is to investigate how cronyism is employed by some married female faculty to secure workplace rights and privileges.
A qualitative research design is employed and interviews were conducted with 32 female academics working at four different universities.
The narrative demonstrates the gendered use of cronyism at work – pre-COVID-19, during which female academics had to work full-time and be present on school campuses, and after COVID-19 pandemic, when academic working conditions changed due to the lockdown of university campuses and the reliance on remote online protocols to fulfil academic duties. The paper shows an increased use of cronyism as a mechanism to reduce heavy workloads. This type of cronyism is known as the expectation of mutual favour cronyism, which means that benefits are exchanged between a female academic and the chair of her department and/or the school rector, but the interests of the university they work in are not taken into consideration.
Virtually, no research exists on the sociocultural determinants of nepotism that undermine the professional performance of female academics at work. The authors draw on social exchange theory and the norm of negative reciprocity to identify the conditions under which social capital is undermined. The results have important implications for theory, practice and future research.
Mousa, M., Althalathini, D. and Abdelgaffar, H. (2023), “The gendered use of cronyism in academic contexts: does social exchange really matter?”, International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-04-2022-0165