Date of Graduation

Spring 2006


Master of Science in Psychology



Committee Chair

Robert Jones


Although nepotism is not a new subject, there are not many studies addressing the psychological issues associated with the phenomenon, particularly in the workplace. The idea of “new nepotism” has emerged with the notion that some offspring have chosen the same profession as their parents, and have not been forced into a career decision or made an opportunistic decision regardless of their ability to perform. The purpose of this study was to explore workplace nepotism using an empirical research approach. Using a career choice and self-determination theory framework, a survey was devised and sent to 673 practicing attorneys in a Midwestern metropolitan area. Lawyers were chosen for this study due to the findings of prevalence of nepotism within this population. Scales in the survey measured work satisfaction, selfdetermination in choosing a career, and workplace nepotism. Data from the returned questionnaires was analyzed and correlations among the levels of self-determination, nepotism and satisfaction were determined. Results show that self-determination is positively correlated with work satisfaction regardless of the presence of nepotism in the workplace. Self-determination was negatively correlated with coercive nepotism and positively correlated with self-determined nepotism. These findings support the hypothesis that individuals high in self-determination are more likely to choose a career based on full volition and by doing so will have higher work satisfaction.


Nepotism, Self-determination, Satisfaction, Law, Occupation

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© Tracy L Stout

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