Working Paper Review Version 3 This version is not peer-reviewed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)
Version 3 : Received: 10 February 2021 / Approved: 11 February 2021 / Online: 11 February 2021 (12:53:32 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 a key characteristic of any complex system. This paper explores 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 article 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 complex systems can be characterized as being hierarchical. This typology can inform future research drawing on any type of hierarchy.

Subject Areas

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

Comments (1)

Comment 1
Received: 11 February 2021
Commenter: Georges Romme
Commenter's Conflict of Interests: Author
Comment: The paper was revised slightly by framing the typology more broadly, in terms of hierarchy as a key characteristic of any complex social system. In addition, the description of the review methodology was extended. Finally, several examples were inserted in the table with an overview of the four types.
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