The role of dominance and prestige-based status in navigating social hierarchies

Kakkar, Hemant (2019) The role of dominance and prestige-based status in navigating social hierarchies. Doctoral thesis, University of London: London Business School.


Evolutionary psychology posits an individual's status can be based either on dominance or prestige. Dominance based status is afforded to those who are assertive, forceful and confident in their interaction with others whereas those who help others by sharing their knowledge, skills and expertise are conferred with prestige-based status. Using dominance and prestige account as two alternate forms of status or influence within the group, I examine three distinct questions in my dissertation. In chapter 1, I ask whether high status individuals are punished or given the benefit of doubt when accused of an ambiguous transgression. I find that if an individual's status is based on dominance, they are punished, but are treated leniently for similar misdeeds when their status is based on prestige. Attributions of intentionality and moral credentials explain the punishment directed towards high status dominant actors. In this way, chapter 1 reconciles the inconsistency in the organizational literature when it comes to the punishment of high-status actors for ambiguous transgressions. In chapter 2, I ask when and why dominant leaders are preferred in comparison to prestige-based leaders. I find that the appeal of a dominant leader increases with greater uncertainty in the environment and lack of control explains this effect. This research explains why authoritarian leaders who often are socially unlikeable rise to power. In chapter 3, I explore the unintended consequences of a dominant leader on their followers' mindset and find that dominant leaders foster a zero-sum mindset among their group members resulting in a lack of cooperation or citizenship behaviors. Across, my dissertation chapters, I employ a mixed method approach by using large archival data, lab experiments, scenario studies and organizational data in testing my hypothesis. Overall, my dissertation provides a much-needed integration of evolutionary status theories to the status literature within organizational science.

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Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subject Areas: Organisational Behaviour
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2022 10:09
Date of first compliant deposit: 10 Feb 2022
Subjects: Organisational behaviour
Social psychology
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 05:49

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