Purpose – In this chapter, we review the research on status hierarchies in groups and teams to assess the relative validity of two major models – the dominance and functionalist theories of status hierarchies. We find that these models cannot fully account for empirical evidence in the literature, and thus propose a new model of status hierarchies, Micropolitics.
Methodology/approach – We examine the relative validity of current major theories by reviewing the literature on status hierarchies in groups.
Findings – We find that, although most of the literature supports the functionalist theory of status hierarchies, this theory cannot explain some of the existing empirical evidence. Drawing on both functionalist and dominance perspectives, we propose a new theory of status, the Micropolitics model, to account for this evidence. Specifically, we propose that in the “micro” context of groups and teams, individuals attain status by convincing their group that they possess the skills and abilities needed to take charge – just as political candidates must convince voters they are the right people for the job.
Originality/value of paper – This paper proposes a new theory of status hierarchies in groups that may provide additional explanatory power for status researchers. It suggests that groups strive to attain meritocracy, but may put the wrong people in charge.
This chapter adopts a functional perspective of affect to organize, discuss, and synthesize the chapters of this volume. According to functional accounts of affect, emotions and moods help groups to solve their most important problems – problems such as maintaining cohesion, allocating roles and responsibilities among group members, facilitating clear intragroup communication, motivating selflessness, and coordinating collective action. The chapters of this volume are diverse in focus, yet they all extend our understanding of how and when affective phenomena help groups to solve these problems, and when they fail to do so. At the same time, they point to new and exciting directions for future research on the functions and dysfunctions of affect in groups.
In the current chapter, we examine people's perceptions of their place in hierarchies. We explore the complexity of these self-perceptions and show how they are…
In the current chapter, we examine people's perceptions of their place in hierarchies. We explore the complexity of these self-perceptions and show how they are susceptible to inaccuracy and bias. We examine how such inaccuracies, however, can lead to negative social consequences: Overestimating one's place can lead to collective punishment by other group members, and underestimating one's place can lead to underutilizing levers of influence, and ultimately, to losing one's social standing.
In this chapter, we present a model for the process of value creation in power-differentiated groups and identify affect as a key moderator. We divide the value creation…
In this chapter, we present a model for the process of value creation in power-differentiated groups and identify affect as a key moderator. We divide the value creation process into two key steps: information sharing and information processing. Further, we propose that high- and low-power group members each play a critical, albeit different, role in these processes. High-power group members are instrumental in establishing an environment that encourages all group members to share their unique information. Once that information is available, low-power group members use it to formulate solutions that create value. Further, we propose that the affective experience of each of these determines the extent to which they fulfill their role. If high-power group members are happy, they are more likely to create an open and sharing environment. If angry, they will likely squelch broad participation in information sharing. While low-power group members are naturally prone to effortful cognition, we propose that the more suspicious they are regarding the motives of those around them, the more carefully they will process available information.
Status, which is based on differences in esteem and honor, is an ancient and universal form of inequality which nevertheless interpenetrates modern institutions and…
Status, which is based on differences in esteem and honor, is an ancient and universal form of inequality which nevertheless interpenetrates modern institutions and organizations. Given its ubiquity and significance, we need to better understand the basic nature of status as a form of inequality. I argue that status hierarches are a cultural invention to organize and manage social relations in a fundamental human condition: cooperative interdependence to achieve valued goals with nested competitive interdependence to maximize individual outcomes in the effort. I consider this claim in relation to both evolutionary arguments and empirical evidence. Evidence suggests that the cultural schema of status is two-fold, consisting of a deeply learned basic norm of status allocation and a set of more explicit, variable, and changing common knowledge status beliefs that people draw on to coordinate judgments about who or what is more deserving of higher status. The cultural nature of status allows people to spread it widely to social phenomena (e.g., firms in a business field) well beyond its origins in interpersonal hierarchies. In particular, I argue, the association of status with social difference groups (e.g., race, gender, class-as-culture) gives inequalities based on those difference groups an autonomous, independent capacity to reproduce themselves through interpersonal status processes.
Building upon the psychological literature on responses to potentially traumatic events (e.g., Bonanno, 2004; Tugade & Fredrickson, 2004), this chapter explores the…
Building upon the psychological literature on responses to potentially traumatic events (e.g., Bonanno, 2004; Tugade & Fredrickson, 2004), this chapter explores the potential impact of managers’ affective expressions during tumultuous times at work. We propose that managerial displays of positive emotions that are also socially appropriate and authentically experienced will enhance employee and team change-related outcomes. We also explain why emotional suppression on the part of managers may be detrimental to healthy employee responses to change. Finally, we discuss theoretical and practical implications of this model.
Past research exploring the influence of affect on group outcomes has primarily considered how the experience of single emotions and mood vary and converge across group…
Past research exploring the influence of affect on group outcomes has primarily considered how the experience of single emotions and mood vary and converge across group members, but does not address the fact that a single group member may express multiple, conflicting emotions simultaneously (e.g., emotional ambivalence). Such complex expressions may drastically alter the way other group members perceive and respond to one another, and in turn, drastically alter the group-level dynamics. We address this gap in the literature by modeling the social consequences of expressing emotional ambivalence, thereby expanding our understanding of emotional ambivalence in group contexts. Implications for research on emotional ambivalence and research on emotions in groups are discussed.
A better understanding of experiences of the end of life in old age is important for practitioners, but there are considerable methodological and ethical challenges to…
A better understanding of experiences of the end of life in old age is important for practitioners, but there are considerable methodological and ethical challenges to research in this area. An interdisciplinary team at the University of Bristol conducted a pilot study of 100 people aged over 80, over the course of a year. The study focused on significant events in the lives of participants, the vast majority of whom were living ordinary lives in the community. Data were gathered from participants and their relatives and, where relevant, from health and social care professionals. In this paper key findings are presented and the implications for research and practice considered.
I argue that while research on collective emotions is gaining in popularity, there has not been sufficient attention paid to understanding the mechanisms that explain how…
I argue that while research on collective emotions is gaining in popularity, there has not been sufficient attention paid to understanding the mechanisms that explain how and why group emotions influence group outcomes. The goal of this chapter is to fill this gap by introducing group-member interactions as a group-level mechanism. I explore how positive and negative collective emotions in workgroups link to different types of member interactions, which in turn, influence group outcomes. Finally, I discuss the theoretical contributions of the research and the implications for future research on workgroup emotions and member interactions.