Culture and social hierarchy: Collectivism as a driver of the relationship between power and status

Christopher To*, Lisa M. Leslie, Carlos J. Torelli, Jennifer L. Stoner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Power and status are distinct bases of social hierarchy with unique effects. Yet evidence suggests wide variation in whether perceptions of status and power are highly correlated versus relatively distinct. We use a cross-cultural lens to explain this variation and suggest cultural orientation shapes the effect of power on perceived status and vice versa. Six studies using various methodologies and samples demonstrate that: (1) individuals high (versus low) on vertical collectivism are more likely to perceive high power targets as also high in status; (2) individuals high (versus low) on horizontal collectivism are more likely to perceive high status targets as also high in power; and (3) cultural differences in the power-status relationship qualify prior conclusions regarding established effects of power and status on one downstream consequence—namely, fairness enacted towards others. Implications for theory, practice, and future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-176
Number of pages18
JournalOrganizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes
Volume157
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2020

Keywords

  • Collectivism
  • Culture
  • Power
  • Social hierarchy
  • Status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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