The Role of Dominance and Prestige Status Strategies in Navigating Social Hierarchies



Striving for higher status is described as one of the fundamental human needs. Individuals’ status striving strategies can be broadly classified as either dominance or prestige oriented. Dominance entails assertive, confident, and decisive actions, and those who demonstrate these behaviours are conferred higher status due to their perceived competence. Alternatively, those who enact the prestige strategy willingly share their knowledge and skills with others and are granted higher status due to their perceived generosity. These two alternate strategies are considered equally viable ways of attaining and maintaining status. The talk will addresses questions concerning the psychological mechanisms involved in these distinct approaches and the conditions governing their effectiveness. By employing these dual strategies for status striving,  I reconcile the inconsistency in the organizational literature for punishment of high-status actors following ambiguous transgressions. Furthermore, I explore when and why socially dominant leaders are preferred compared to prestigious leaders. Collectively, this research examines when and why one of the two equivalent status striving strategies – dominance or prestige – can be more effective under certain situations than the other.