The Path to Glory Is Paved With Hierarchy : When Hierarchical Differentiation Increases Group Effectiveness
Author(s): Richard Ronay, Katharine Greenaway, Eric Anicich, Adam Galinsky
Abstract: Two experiments examined the psychological and biological antecedents of hierarchical differentiation and the resultingrnconsequences for productivity and conflict within small groups. In Experiment 1, which used a priming manipulation,rnhierarchically differentiated groups (i.e., groups comprising 1 high-power-primed, 1 low-power-primed, and 1 baselinernindividual) performed better on a procedurally interdependent task than did groups comprising exclusively either all highpower-rnprimed or all low-power-primed individuals. There were no effects of hierarchical differentiation on performancernon a procedurally independent task. Experiment 2 used a biological marker of dominance motivation (prenatal testosteronernexposure as measured by a digit-length ratio) to manipulate hierarchical differentiation. The pattern of results fromrnExperiment 1 was replicated; mixed-testosterone groups achieved greater productivity than did groups comprising all hightestosteronernor all low-testosterone individuals. Furthermore, intragroup conflict mediated the productivity decrements forrnthe high-testosterone but not the low-testosterone groups. This research suggests possible directions for future researchrnand the need to further delineate the conditions and types of hierarchy under which hierarchical differentiation enhancesrnrather than undermines group effectiveness.
Publication Title: Psychological Science, Vol. 23(6)
Pub Year: 2012
Pages: 669 – 677
Keywords: hierarchy, power, differentiation, conflict, coordination, testosterone, dominance

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