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The Debilitating Effect of Hierarchical Structures on Those With and Without Power Then and Now - Essay Example

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The Debilitating Effect of Hierarchical Structures on Those With and Without Power Then and Now: A Close Reading of “The Use of Force,” “Those Winter Sundays,” and “My Papa’s Waltz” …
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The Debilitating Effect of Hierarchical Structures on Those With and Without Power Then and Now
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The Debilitating Effect of Hierarchical Structures on Those With and Without Power Then and Now

In various forms, hierarchy gives rise to leaders or a handful of principal individuals in a group, which naturally occurs from interactions. Magee and Galinsky (3) discuss the definition and behavior of a hierarchical structure: Resources are unequally distributed across individuals and groups, and positions and roles are granted different amounts of sources of power, which are conferred upon the individuals who occupy them. Like both human and non-human primate societies more generally, most, if not all, organizations have a stratified structure, a pyramid shape with fewer people at the top than at the bottom. Even when one considers the heterogeneity of organizational forms and organizational practices and cultures that are intended to dodge or suppress hierarchy, what is most noticeable is that hierarchy relentlessly rises up against these pressures. Most importantly, hierarchy is a naturally-forming phenomenon that is always present in various forms across all societies in the world. It inescapably develops between and within groups even when some organizations reduce the effect of its structure by adopting alternative models of shaping an organization (Leavitt 42). Social hierarchy in organizations is defined as “an implicit or explicit rank order of individuals or groups with respect to a valued social dimension” (Magee and Galinsky 5). ...
930). Hierarchies create power and control to individuals of the higher rank that hold greater ability, skills and motivation to complete certain tasks within a group. In formal hierarchy, the differentiated structure is constant but passive since changing the assembly of ranks is difficult and borderline unreasonable. On the other hand, the organizational structure in informal hierarchy is weak and conditional because the hierarchical differentiation is only done on short interaction based on stereotype-based expectations (Magee and Galinsky 7). Over the years, hierarchical structures faded and developed a debilitating effect to those members of groups and organizations that possess power and to those who lack one. This gradual weakening of hierarchy will be discussed by exploring the literary pieces, “The Use of Force” by William Carlos William, “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden, and “My Papa’s Waltz” by Theodore Roethke. William Carlos William’s famous short story, “The Use of Force” presents the application of physical superiority of a person with power to others who have none. In the story, a doctor is shown to diagnose a sick child whom they suspect of having the deadly disease diphtheria. The doctor needed to get a throat culture in the mouth of the child in order to examine the cause of the illness correctly, however the stubbornness of the child and the passive authority of the parents made the process harder to execute. The doctor appeared to be compassionate at first, addressing an open mind to the expressed fear of the child in being examined, and at the reluctance of the parents to accommodate a stranger like him into their home. But as the child becomes more ... Read More
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