Identifying the Nature of the Hierarchy

This is Part 3 of the Social Hierarchy Series.

Last time we’ve talked about the effects of a hierarchy, be it hostile or beneficial. As a quick recap, a hierarchy’s effects can be seen on how an individual functions and interacts with other members of the hierarchy. This time, we will be talking about the nature of a hierarchy.

First thing’s first: What do I mean by the nature of a hierarchy?

A hierarchy’s nature is different from its effects, although the nature of the hierarchy defines how it affects its members. A hierarchy’s nature defines how it is labeled. A hostile nature dictates a hostile hierarchy and a beneficial nature¬†dictates a beneficial one.

The signs of a nature are seen on its effects, so it is important to read about the effects of a hierarchy first here.

It is important to identify the ruling power in the hierarchy, as their own nature and personalities are often the defining factor for the identity of the hierarchy’s nature. It isn’t really a difficult task, since the leader is almost always made known to you as soon as you enter a hierarchy or if you’re planning to join one.

Observing the ruling powers for some time is an effective way to determine their natures. However, it might not always be a fruitful method as there are people who are able to effectively conceal their true motives.

Generally, by looking at the power’s history, achievements, controversies, and certain methods of implementation (rules, projects, etc), you can build a good picture of how the ruling power functions.

A hierarchy’s nature can also be identified through its background and history, as well as how its members, both present and former, describe the state of the organization. Nothing else is more effective at identifying the former and present nature of the hierarchy than by how the members describe it. Talking with its members will provide a good picture about the hierarchy itself.

Third, it is also a good way to look at the hierarchy’s mission and vision. A hierarchy always possesses both, whether they are clearly defined or not. The vision describes the hierarchy’s goal or ideal state. Its mission defines why it exists and also paints how it plans on achieving its vision.

For example, a hospital’s vision may be to build a community where people are healthy and far from diseases, while its mission talks about preventing and mitigating casualties from diseases, hiring quality personnel, obtaining excellent and complete equipment, etc.

Apart from these, it is also worth identifying how the individuals are functioning under the hierarchy’s rule, as we’ve discussed in the previous article.

Using these four techniques, it is possible to accurately identify the nature of the hierarchy and escape the hostile ones. There is one thing which is common among these four techniques though: Observation.

By observing its ruling powers, its history, its purpose and vision, and its members, a clear picture of the hierarchy’s nature arises into view and helps fuel your decisions of joining one or not.

Stay tuned for the next part of the Social Hierarchies series!


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