Working Paper Review Version 2 This version is not peer-reviewed

Ladders of Authority, Status, Responsibility and Ideology: Toward a Typology of Hierarchy

Version 1 : Received: 24 December 2020 / Approved: 25 December 2020 / Online: 25 December 2020 (10:46:10 CET)
Version 2 : Received: 6 January 2021 / Approved: 8 January 2021 / Online: 8 January 2021 (14:14:07 CET)

How to cite: Romme, A.G.L. Ladders of Authority, Status, Responsibility and Ideology: Toward a Typology of Hierarchy. Preprints 2020, 2020120652 Romme, A.G.L. Ladders of Authority, Status, Responsibility and Ideology: Toward a Typology of Hierarchy. Preprints 2020, 2020120652

Abstract

The notion of hierarchy is widely used in many academic disciplines but is also rather ambiguous, because there are many ways to define it. In this review paper, I explore which notions of hierarchy are being used in the field of management and organization studies. Four distinct types of hierarchy are identified: a ladder of formal decision-making authority, a ladder of achieved status, a self-organized ladder of responsibility, and an ideology-based ladder. A social mechanism-based perspective serves to define and distinguish these four types. Subsequently, the typology is further developed by comparing the four hierarchy types in terms of their tacit/explicitness, (in)transitivity, and behavior- versus cognition-centeredness. This review paper contributes to the literature by dissecting the general metaphor of hierarchy into four different constructs and their social mechanisms, which serves to create a typology of the various ways in which hierarchy is being used in the domain of organization and management. This typology can inform future research drawing on any type of hierarchy, also in other domains.

Subject Areas

hierarchy; management; organization; formal authority; social mechanism; ideology; self-organization; responsibility; status; typology; literature review

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 8 January 2021
Commenter: Georges Romme
Commenter's Conflict of Interests: Author
Comment: This updated version includes a few additional sources and a more extensive explanation of the review approach adopted. Moreover, an additional example was added to subsection 3.4 on the ladder of ideology. Finally, several typo's were corrected.
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