Magee & Galinsky: social hierarchy - power & status Flashcards Preview

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Social hierarchy

An implicit or explicit rank order of individuals or groups with respect to a valued social dimension.


Hierarchical differentiation

Occurs either created in a formal system or organically in informal interactions.


Status and power hierarchy

Status hierarchy:
- Characterized by a rank ordering of individuals or
groups according to the amount of respect accorded
by others
Power hierarchy:
- Individuals are rank ordered with respect to the
amount of resources each controls


Functions of social hierarchy

- Social order and coordination
- Fulfills an important cluster of human needs
characterized by the desire for order, structure, and
- Individual incentives
- providing incentives for individuals to try to ascend
to higher positions because higher rank affords
greater material and psychological rewards and


How do expectations reinforce status hierarchies?

- Expectancy confirmation
- Status of an individual determines how others
evaluate his or her behaviour
- Behavioural confirmation
- Social interaction can shape individuals’ behaviour
in a hierarchy-reinforcing manner by guiding
behaviour so that it conforms to and becomes
consistent with statusbased expectations
- Backlash
- Individuals whose behaviour deviates from
prescriptive expectations are often evaluated
negatively and even punished
- Opportunity accumulation
- Individuals who are most respected are given
higher quality opportunities than those who are less


Hierarchy is self-reinforcing through 3 main aspects

- The psychological effects of power
- Status-based expectations
- Hierarchy-enhancing ideologies
- Social dominance theory & System justification


Social status & Social power

Social status
- The extent to which an individual or group is
respected or admired by others
- Objective accomplishments are translated into status
only through subjective interpretations
- Status emerges from expectations that individuals
have for their own and each others’ performance, or
on various professional and demographic qualities
(“status characteristics”)
- To the extent that one’s formal position garners
respect in the eyes of others, one has status
- Needs to be separated from: attention and influence
Social power
- Asymmetric control over valued resources in social
- More objective than status, because if the sources of
value for each party are known, one can measure
party’s power
- To the extent that one’s formal position provides
control over resources that other care about, one
has power
- Needs to be separated from: influence, resistance,
and conflict


Effects of power on psychological processes

- Power begets more power because the powerful
directly capture additional resources for themselves
- Power holders’ high-level, abstract construal of the
world likely obscures the specific interests of
subordinates, which helps perpetuate the status quo
hierarchical arrangements
- People with power have an instrumental focus: They
attend to and approach others only to the extent that
they are useful
- Relationship between power and objectification can
reinforce hierarchy: by increasing efficiency, the
powerful will be given disproportionate credit for the
organization’s success