Levels Upon Levels

This week we took a closer look at power and the different types of power. For my blog this week I want to keep it in the theme of power. More specifically I wanted to look at power in the workplace and the hierarchy that it creates.

Most workplaces have a pyramid hierarchy where there are a few top leaders, then different amounts of mid-level leaders, then a lot of base employees (“How Important is Workplace Hierarchy”). This type of hierarchy has been proven to have many positive effects on businesses. This is because work is performed most efficiently when there are many people who are working towards one common goal. A hierarchy in a work place also employs unity, those at the same level work together at the instruction of the people above them who work together at the instruction at the people above them and so on. This also creates different authority at different levels. The authority, or power, that a person has in their workplace depends on what level of the hierarchy they are at (“How Important is Workplace Hierarchy”).  If a person is at the lowest level of the hierarchy, then their desire for power may influence them to do more efficient work so that they can move further up the hierarchy. Those at the top of the hierarchy are influenced not to abuse their authority because then they might lose their power, so in a way a workplace hierarchy has checks and balances.

An example that shows this type of workplace hierarchy in action is my boyfriend and his job. He has not even been at his job for a year yet and is in one of the base positions you can start out in, or in other words is at the bottom level of the hierarchy. His desire is to move upwards in the hierarchy so that he can make more money, have better health insurance benefits, make more of a difference within the company, and improve his work experience. This desire to move upwards means that he is always working above and beyond so that he will be noticed by his superiors for when a job opening comes up. Now the way his hierarchy works is that he has a supervisor who is directly in charge of him as well as about twenty more employees who are at the same level as my boyfriend. However, although this man is directly in charge of my boyfriend, he is not the one who would be making the recommendation when it comes time for the company to move my boyfriend to a more superior job. This supervisor’s boss who is directly above him and is in charge of about five other supervisors just like him, will be the one who makes the call about moving my boyfriend upward. This shows that even though the supervisor has some power over my boyfriend, the supervisor’s boss has power over him and therefore has even more power over my boyfriend and his future at the company. This example shows how power comes to play in a common workplace hierarchy.




“How Important Is Workplace Hierarchy.” Bright HR, 2018, www.brighthr.com/brightbase/topic/culture-and-performance/corporate-hierarchy/how-important-is-workplace-hierarchy.


1 comment

  1. Hierarchy within a business is definitely something I have experienced many times. In my job, I am the low man on the totem pole. Even though my job is valued by those above me, I am still in a position of little power. My job is to directly follow the instructions of the woman above me. I am her staff member and I work alongside another person who holds the same position as me. We work well together. Though we are to take direction from the woman directly above us, there are instances in which we offer pieces of advice from our point of view to our “supervisor” and she is very open and willing to listen to what we have to offer, as we directly oversee the students we all work with. Though our “supervisor” or main teacher in our room does not directly have power over whether or not we are fired or hired, she does have influence with our main overall supervisor. We all have the same one, including the teacher we work for. Our main supervisor oversees everything and takes input from those in our department and the principle of our school very seriously when preparing to do our evaluations. There is not an opportunity for advancement in my job, though you can apply for different positions, you must have the required level of experience and educational background in order to do so. There may be pay raises for different situations but as far as moving up to a higher position, at this point given that I am not finished my undergrad, there really is no room for advancement. Even though I have no room for advancement, it doesn’t change my motivation for my job. My motivation comes from the internal aspect. I love my job and the students I work with. They have influenced me in so many ways and it is an absolute joy and uplifting experience working with our students. That is where my motivation for my job comes from. I am interested to know, do others who do not have room for advancement have some other form of motivation to stay within their job? Are they happy with the dynamics of the hierarchy within their business?

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