This theory has distinct implications for population-level and macro- and inequality and hierarchy between groups.
Berger explains that “Interpersonal status hierarchies” refers to the emergence of differential levels of social esteem and influence that occurs when groups of people interact. From the research it has been found out that several factors may influence the ways that status hierarchies emerge (Ridgeway). Nevertheless, the driving momentum seems to be implicit assumptions that members of the group hold about each other members’ level and the ability for completing the duty at hand. The expectation states theory came from the sociology literature that started with observations about differences in influence, participation and prestige across members of small groups, and these differences varied as a function of status characteristics.
In a given incident, if a diffuse status characteristic in a task situation is a social basis of discrimination between o (other) and p (persons) then the diffuse status characteristic is activated in the task situation.
If diffuse status characteristic is activated in the task situation and has not been previously dissociated from a characteristic predictive of success, and if there is no other social basis of discrimination between o and p, then at least one consistent component of diffuse status characteristic will become relevant to characteristic predictive of success in task situation.
Any components of an activated diffuse status characteristic are relevant to characteristic predictive of success; p will assign states of characteristic predictive of success to self and other in a consistent manner.
If p assigns states of characteristic predictive of success to himself and o consistent with the states of an activated diffuse status characteristic, then ps position relative to o in the observable power and prestige order will be a direct