Why Status Matters In Organizations

In the latest issue of Administrative Science Quarterly, Rodrigo Canales of the Yale School of Management published a book review of “Status in Management and Organizations,” edited by Jone L. Pearce:

That people and organizations care about status should not be a controversial assertion. In many cases, status is important because it arises directly from merit: a Nobel Prize is a powerful signal of status that grants the recipient visibility and respect, but it also recognizes “objective” merit. Yet status is not only and not always a consequence of merit. Examples of companies that benefit from high status yet offer relatively lower quality products abound. Teams often neglect their most experienced members and rely disproportionately on members with less relevant experience but higher status on other, less relevant characteristics.

If status matters for individuals, for groups, and for organizations, then it is not a surprise that scholars from a number of disciplines have studied it. The sheer variety of settings, methodologies, and theoretical groundings that have been used to demonstrate its impact on important outcomes confirms status as a critical element of organizational life. The same variety also makes it extremely difficult for researchers, let alone for practitioners, to navigate the concept and, more important, to develop a comprehensive intuition for why, when, and how it should matter. For that reason alone, Pearce’s edited volume, Status in Management and Organizations, is a welcome contribution.

Click here to read on in Administrative Science Quarterly, and follow this link to receive e-alerts about new book reviews and the latest theoretical and empirical papers on organizational studies from ASQ.

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