Search results1 – 10 of over 35000
Hierarchy and bureaucracy have been more or less welcomed companions of human civilisation from the very beginning. In almost every culture and epoch, ruling elites and…
Hierarchy and bureaucracy have been more or less welcomed companions of human civilisation from the very beginning. In almost every culture and epoch, ruling elites and followers, superiors and subordinates can be identified. Hierarchy and bureaucracy are quite flexible, adaptable and they are fairly persistent – but why could, or even should we see this as a problem?
This introduction will first provide a brief history of no change, followed by the second section where the advantages and disadvantages and the contested terrain of hierarchy are elaborated in some length. The discussion focuses on three areas: the functional, social and ethical qualities of hierarchy. In the final section, the chapters of this volume will be briefly introduced. The chapters are grouped into three sections: (I) Fundamentals and historical accounts of bureaucracy, (II) Organisational, cultural and socio-psychological aspects of hierarchy and (III) Alternative views on, and alternatives to hierarchy.
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.
The Finnish social philosopher Arvid Aulin has made an attempt to develop a theory of social progress based on cybernetic principles. In his sociocybernetics two…
The Finnish social philosopher Arvid Aulin has made an attempt to develop a theory of social progress based on cybernetic principles. In his sociocybernetics two fundamental concepts are “self‐steering” of actors and “hierarchy” in social systems. Emancipation processes are directed towards an increase of self‐steering and a decrease of outside steering of human actors. In his “Law of the Requisite Hierarchy”, Aulin formulates a negative relationship between the production level of a society and its optimal level of hierarchy; the higher the production per capita, the lower the necessary amount of hierarchy for that society; democracy flourishes as the economy grows. In this paper his arguments for and the consequences, especially for developing countries, of this fundamental law of sociocybernetics, are discussed.
Within the organizational literature, the emphasis on group performance has tended to overshadow issues of group composition and structure. In this chapter we urge group…
Within the organizational literature, the emphasis on group performance has tended to overshadow issues of group composition and structure. In this chapter we urge group scholars to turn their attention to the topic of hierarchy in organizational groups. We focus on hierarchy as defined by both status and power. We propose that understanding how organizational groups resolve conflicts, make decisions, and ultimately perform, must stem from an understanding of the hierarchical structure in the team. Hierarchy imposes constraints on group interactions and should therefore be more central in our frameworks, theories, and research. We look at three areas that could benefit from bringing a hierarchical perspective to the forefront: (1) Information exchange and discussion biases in group decision making, (2) The study of conflict management and negotiation, and (3) Creativity and effectiveness in diverse teams.
A cybernetic theory of hierarchical social systems is given, starting from an extension of Ashby's general theory of regulation and control to amplifying regulation. Regulation and control in human society are then discussed and the conditions for the existence of social classes and social hierarchy examined.
Social and task groups need a few high-status members who can be leaders and trend setters, and many more lower-status members who can follow and contribute work without…
Social and task groups need a few high-status members who can be leaders and trend setters, and many more lower-status members who can follow and contribute work without challenging the group's direction (Caporael (1997). Personality and Social Psychology Review, 1, 276–298; Caporael & Baron (1997). In: J. Simpson, & D. Kenrick (Eds), Evolutionary social psychology (pp. 317–343). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum; Brewer (1997). In: C. McGarty, & S.A. Haslam (Eds), The message of social psychology: Perspectives on mind in society (pp. 54–62). Malden, MA: Blackwell). When groups come together without a priori status differentiation, a status hierarchy must be implemented; however, if the new members are too homogeneously status seeking, then it is not clear what will result. We argue that hierarchy will develop even in uniformly status-seeking groups, and that the social context and members’ relational characteristics – specifically, the degree to which they are group oriented rather than self-serving – will predict which status seekers succeed in gaining status. We discuss why and how a “status sorting” process will occur to award status to a few members and withhold it from most, and the consequences of this process for those who are sorted downward.
Purpose – We offer a view of interpersonal justice climate in which the benefits of fair treatment might be stronger within some groups versus others, depending on…
Purpose – We offer a view of interpersonal justice climate in which the benefits of fair treatment might be stronger within some groups versus others, depending on characteristics of the supervisor, the group, and the organization in which the group is embedded. We further identify a potential silver lining that may be associated with low interpersonal justice climate. Overall, our intent of this chapter is to offer a more nuanced view of the topic to enhance our understanding of interpersonal justice within groups.
Design/methodology/approach – We review literature on status to support our propositions.
Findings – We examine how a supervisor's idiosyncrasy credits, a group's status, and an organization's emphasis on hierarchy will moderate the relationship between unfair interpersonal treatment from a supervisor and the group's perceived interpersonal justice climate. Also, we suggest that low levels of interpersonal justice climate may actually lead to greater affiliation among group members and ultimately enhance perceptions of group cohesion.
Originality/value – Previous literature on justice climate has largely focused on procedural justice, whereas generally ignoring interpersonal exchanges between a group and its supervisor. This chapter contributes to research on justice at the group level by examining the potential moderating effects of status on the generation of interpersonal justice climate. Further, and in contrast to previous research, we offer a potential positive outcome that may result from low interpersonal justice climate.
Expectations ostensibly lead to the formation of hierarchies, and hierarchies are thought to improve coordination. A simulation model is introduced to determine whether…
Expectations ostensibly lead to the formation of hierarchies, and hierarchies are thought to improve coordination. A simulation model is introduced to determine whether expectations directly improve coordination.
Agent-based simulations of small group behavior are used to determine what rules for expectation formation best coordinate groups. Within groups of agents that have differing but unknown task abilities, pairs take turns playing a coordination game with one another. The group receives a positive payoff when one agent chooses to take a high-importance role (leader) and the other chooses a low-importance role (follower), where the payoff is proportional to the ability of the “leader.” When both individuals vie to be leader, a costly conflict gives the group information about which agent has a higher task-ability.
The rules governing individuals’ formation of expectations about one another often lead to coordination that is suboptimal: They do not capitalize on the differential abilities of group members. The rules do, however, minimize costly conflicts between individuals. Therefore, standard rules of expectation formation are only optimal when conflicts are costly or provide poor information.
Rules that govern the formation of expectations may have served an evolutionary purpose in guiding individuals towards coordination while minimizing conflict, but these psychologically hardwired rules lead to suboptimal hierarchies.
This paper looks at how well empirically observed expectation-generating rules lead to group coordination by adding a game theoretic conception of interaction to the e-state structuralism model of hierarchy formation.
Are people more or less likely to use their power if they have high social status? This chapter discusses how having status affects the use of power by those in positions…
Are people more or less likely to use their power if they have high social status? This chapter discusses how having status affects the use of power by those in positions of power in exchange relations or small groups. Although status and power are typically assumed to be mutually reinforcing, there is growing recognition that having status may actually inhibit the use of power under certain conditions.
I review relevant research findings and consider three variables in particular that may moderate the effects of status on the use of power: legitimacy of status, achieved versus ascribed status, and individualist versus collectivist cultures.
While status and power are close correlates, there is growing recognition – particularly in organizational psychology – that, under certain conditions, having status may inhibit the use of power or that lacking status increases power use. These studies shed new light on how status interacts with power in hierarchical groups and challenge the pervasive view of power and status as mutually reinforcing forces that perpetuate inequalities. Understanding more precisely when and why status and power have convergent or divergent effects on power use is an important task for scholars of group processes.
The possibility that status and power can have distinct consequences, let alone opposite effects, presents an intriguing opportunity for scholars of group processes to rethink and extend our understanding of social hierarchies in a new light.
Within hierarchical relationships, subordinates are expected to obey the existing order and to function well. Their deviance or organisational misbehaviour is usually…
Within hierarchical relationships, subordinates are expected to obey the existing order and to function well. Their deviance or organisational misbehaviour is usually regarded negatively and as a threat to the system. However, there seems to be a paradox: Subordinates' deviance and (occasional) misbehaviour does not threaten organisational hierarchy but often re-establishes or even strengthens hierarchical order even though it challenges it. In itself, this phenomenon is quite self-evident. What is less clear is when exactly subordinates' deviance might contribute to the (further) stabilisation, continuation and persistence of the hierarchical social order and when it might be indeed system threatening. For interrogating the specific conditions and consequences of subordinates' deviance within organisational settings, the concept of crossing of boundaries will be introduced and differentiated into weak, medium and strong crossings. The concept will then be applied to subordinates' deviance in the realms of social action, interests, identity and norms and values.