Sociology Index


Hierarchy is the structuring of social status and role within an organization or society ranked according to differentiations of power, authority, wealth, income, etc. Related terms of 'hierarchy' are ranking or stratification. Issues of hierarchy extend beyond issues of social class.

Varieties of Hierarchies and Markets: an Introduction 
GARY G. HAMILTON, Univ of Washington Seattle, ROBERT C. FEENSTRA, Univ of California. Abstract: The paper presents both a theoretical and an empirical argument that the concept of hierarchy needs to be reconceptualized.In our theoretical discussion we develop a synthesis between Coase's and Williamson's conception of a market/hierarchy dichotomy and Weber's distinction between economic power and authority. We hold that the authoritative aspects of hierarchies, especially within networks of firms, have independent effects on the formation of market economies.

Gender Hierarchy Among Gujarati Immigrants: Linking Immigration Policy and Cultural Norms. - Nandini Narain Assar - DISSERTATION ABSTRACT
The nature of motel work allows women to contribute their labor full-time and still remain housewives: they are not recognized as workers. Community financing and family labor, both escapes from the market economy, allow for the economic success of Patels. When families take on subsequent links in the chain migration, they must meet the costs of migration for new immigrants, and maintain traditional gender hierarchy. When they are the last link in the chain, there is a challenge to this hierarchy. In the second generation, when they remain in the motel business, Patels maintain traditional gender hierarchy. When either partner is linked to the labor market, there is a challenge to traditional gender hierarchy.

Ryon Lancaster. “Constructing Careers: The Creation of Hierarchy in the Catholic Church.”

Class Identities and the Identity of Class 
Wendy Bottero, University of Southampton - Sociology, Vol. 38, No. 5, 985-1003 (2004)
The uneasy relationship between older and newer aspects of ‘class’ within renewed class theory means the wider implications of inequality considered as individualized hierarchy (rather than as ‘class’) have not been fully explored.The debate on class identities (an important example of this new form of class analysis) illustrates these difficulties, and shows that issues of hierarchy extend well beyond issues of ‘class’.

We analyse the occupational structure of friendship and present empirical results that show that there is one dimension of this structure that can be plausibly interpreted as reflecting a hierarchy of status. This status hierarchy is gender-neutral, and displays clear continuities with that depicted for the later nineteenth and earlier twentieth centuries in historical and earlier sociological research. We further show that the correlation between social status and both income and education is only rather modest. As regards status and class, we find that while some classes show a rather high degree of status homogeneity, in other classes status stratification is quite extensive. - 'Is There a Status Order in Contemporary British Society? Evidence from the Occupational Structure of Friendship', Working Paper Number 2002-03, Department of Sociology, University of Oxford, October, Chan, Tak Wing and Goldthorpe, John (2002)

The Enduring Place of Hierarchy in World Politics: Tracing the Social Logics of Hierarchy and Political Change - John M. Hobson, Univ. of Sheffield, J. C. Sharman, Univ. of Sydney, Australia - European Journal of International Relations, Vol. 11, No.1
Conventional wisdom maintains that since 1648 the international system has comprised states-as-like units endowed with Westphalian sovereignty under anarchy. And while radical globalization theorists certainly dispute the centrality of the state in modern world politics, nevertheless most assume that the state retains its sovereignty under globalization. In contrast we argue that hierarchical sub-systems (and hence unlike units) have been common since 1648, and that the international system continues to be characterized by hierarchical (as well as anarchic) relations. The article goes on to reveal the existence of these multiple hierarchic formations and uncovers the differing social logics connected with identity-formation processes that govern their reproduction. Successive religious, racial, socialist and democratic social logics not only constitute their reproduction, but the emergence of new norms, social ideas and identities have to an important extent accounted for the rise and decay of successive hierarchies.

Hierarchy, Alienation, Commitment, and Organizational Effectiveness 
William M. Evan, The Wharton School, Department of Sociology and Management, University of Pennsylvania, Human Relations, Vol. 30, No. 1, 77-94 (1977)
Four dimensions of organizational hierarchy are identified: inequality of skills and knowledge, inequality of rewards, inequality of authority, and inequality of information distribution. Instead of the prevailing and largely untested hypothesis that hierarchical structure is positively related to organizational effectiveness, an alternative hypothesis is formulated, viz., that it is negatively related. This hypothesis is linked to a causal model interrelating hierarchical structure with work alienation, organizational commitment, and organizational effectiveness. Some evidence for the alternative hypothesis is examined. The four-dimensional concept is then used to assess the burgeoning literature on industrial democracy. The phenomenon of "shop-floor democracy" is conceptualized as involving a process of destratification with respect to allfour dimensions of hierarchy.

International Sociology, Vol. 4, No. 4, (1989)
The policy statements of the British Conservative government are heavily influenced by `new right' ideology. However, progress towards the declared goals of spending constraint, the expansion of the private sector, a high degree of selectivity in state provision and tax reduction has been slow. Changes in policy are better understood in terms of a redirection rather than a rolling back of the state; a greater emphasis in welfare intervention on the sustenance of the existing pattern of class inequalities and family dependency, and the nourishing of forces which will press for further shifts in this direction. The impact of policy change fits an old right programme of dependency, obligation and hierarchy better than a `new right' ideology of market individualism. ... obligation and hierarchy better than a `new right' ideology of market individualism.