Numerous scholars have debated the reasons why status in individual and organisational
behaviour deserves attention as well as how status is socially constructed. Scholars
such as Gould (2002:1143) are of the opinion that the importance of the manifestation
of status is a result of the social and institutional factors that guide inter-subjective
evaluations that lead to difference in status orderings. Other scholars might argue that
status can be determined by an individual’s position within his/her social circles (Pearce
2011:27). In this article the term “status” refers to an individual’s or group’s prestige
or honour as well as an individual’s claim to respect and compliance in relations with
others (Weber 1968 and Blau 1964 in Pearce 2011:25). Status may not necessarily be
associated with the qualities that an individual might have, but the emergence of an
individual’s status is formed by the social process of inter-subjective evaluation.
This article will elaborate on the applicability of the Social Dominance Theory (and
the Social Dominance Orientation Scale) to analyse the manifestation of status as a
result of the operation of group-based social hierarchies in the South African public
sector. Sidanius and Pratto (1999:38) are of the opinion that the Social Dominance
Theory draws on a wide range of disciplines and theories in social sciences and
highlight the kinds of status hierarchies that exist on the basis of age, gender and other
criteria such as ethnicity. When applying the aforementioned theory and scale, the
emphasis should be on studying status hierarchies based on ascribed criteria, rather
than earned criteria.
Landman, Liezel(University of Pretoria, 2006-10-04)
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