Power and Status: Volume 20


Table of contents

(12 chapters)
click here to view access options
click here to view access options


Pages IX-XI
click here to view access options

Last year we began a new trend in the Advances in Group Processes series. Our goal was to publish a set of five interrelated volumes that examine core issues or fundamental themes in the group processes arena. Each volume was to be organized around a particular problem, substantive area, or topic of study, broadly defined to include a range of methodological and theoretical orientations. Volume 20 represents the second volume of that series, addressing fundamental questions of Power and Status.

This paper works at the intersections of affect control theory, expectation states theory, and social influence network theory. First, we introduce social influence network theory into affect control theory. We show how an influence network may emerge from the pattern of interpersonal sentiments in a group and how the fundamental sentiments that are at the core of affect control theory (dealing with the evaluation, potency, and activity of self and others) may be modified by interpersonal influences. Second, we bring affect control theory and social influence network theory to bear on expectation states theory. In a task-oriented group, where persons’ performance expectations may be a major basis of their interpersonal influence, we argue that persons’ fundamental sentiments may mediate effects of status characteristics on group members’ performance expectations. Based on the linkage of fundamental sentiments and interpersonal influence, we develop an account of the formation of influence networks in groups that is applicable to both status homogeneous and status heterogeneous groups of any size, whether or not they are completely connected, and that is not restricted in scope to task-oriented groups.

While classical exchange theorists excluded bargaining from the scope of their theories, most contemporary theorists have done the opposite, concentrating exclusively on negotiated exchanges with binding agreements. This chapter describes the theoretical logic and empirical results of a new program of research comparing the effects of reciprocal and negotiated forms of exchange. As the work shows, fundamental differences between the two forms of exchange affect many of the processes addressed by current theories. Reciprocal exchanges produce weaker power use, greater feelings of trust and affective commitment, and stronger perceptions of the partner’s fairness than equivalent negotiated exchanges. I discuss the implications of this work for theories of exchange and social interaction, and outline future directions for the next phase of the research program.

In this study negotiated exchange under the 1-exchange rule is considered in the whole population of 142,660 exchange networks up to size 9. A review shows that 51 of these networks have been studied in the literature. Predictions for the whole population of networks are derived by parsimonious versions of power-dependence and exchange-resistance theory. All but 301 networks are classified similarly as equal, weak, or strong power networks by the power-dependence and exchange-resistance theory. Only 4% of the networks is classified as a strong power network, as opposed to the 43% of the networks studied in the literature.

We develop elements of Network Exchange and Expectation States Theories to explain the relationship between power and status. While power and status are highly correlated, demonstrating that power can be used to attain high status has proven difficult, perhaps because negative reactions to power use limit power users’ influence. We propose three ways to reduce negative reactions to power use. One of them, philanthropy, suggests a solution to the “free-rider” problem in collective action. If philanthropic contributions increase status, then contributing to a public good may also. Thus, status attainment may be an incentive motivating public goods contributions.

We present a specific mathematical model for predicting allocative behaviors in the context of reward expectations theory. We test the goodness of fit of the model to data from two empirical studies and demonstrate that it fits quite well. We also suggest alternative research uses for the model.

According to status construction theory, a social attribute becomes imbued with status value through its association with valued resources. Yet, explanations for such associations have received scant attention. I propose that social identity processes may lead agents controlling resources to over-allocate to in-group members. This generates a doubly dissimilar situation in which actors are differentiated both with respect to a nominal characteristic and resources, leading the characteristic to become imbued with status value. I find support for this elaboration in a sample of newly founded organizations. I discuss the implications of this elaboration for further developments in status construction theory.

click here to view access options

Basic science, sometimes called “curiosity-driven research” at the National Science Foundation and other places, starts with a question that somehow stays in the mind, nagging for an answer. Such questions really are “puzzles”; they arise in an intellectual field or context, asking someone to fit pieces to an improving but incomplete picture of the social world. What makes a worthwhile puzzle is a missing part in understanding the picture, or a new piece of knowledge that does not seem to fit among other parts. Sometimes creative theorists can imagine a solution to one of the holes in the puzzle. If they are also empirical scientists, they devise ways to get evidence bearing on their ideas, and some of those ideas survive to give more complete and detailed pictures of the world. This chapter is the story of puzzles and provisional solutions to them, developed by dozens of men and women investigating status processes and status structures, using a coherent perspective, for over half a century.1

click here to view access options

A centuries-long history of theory and research shows that every authority system tries to cultivate a belief in its legitimacy. This paper focuses on the legitimation of regimes – social relationships and the rules that govern them. We use existing theory and research to identify a basic legitimation assumption that includes four conditions necessary to establish legitimacy. We also identify four corollaries of the assumption and use our own published and unpublished laboratory research to show (1) how successful experimental procedures satisfy the assumption’s conditions, and (2) how the failure of experimental procedures to establish legitimacy violate the assumption and its corollaries.

In this paper, I show how a consideration of legitimacy processes is of theoretical use in addressing two current issues in status research. First, I investigate under what conditions the contrast between the sex composition of a work group and the sex composition of an organization’s authority structure may trigger the salience of gender status in task groups. I argue that this contrast will make gender status salient when an evaluation from an authority figure outside the group creates inconsistency and uncertainty in the current status structure within the group. Delegitimation of a superior is one such process that produces this inconsistency and uncertainty. Second, I examine under what conditions status position compared to identity will more likely stimulate behavior among work group members. I argue that the legitimation of the superior and the group’s status order reduce the likelihood that group members will pursue status inconsistent, identity behaviors. Delegitimation, however, increases opportunities for acting in identity consistent ways and reduces the costs for doing so, thus enhancing the likelihood of identity-based behaviors.

Publication date
Book series
Advances in Group Processes
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
Book series ISSN