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A group of people who form an ascending chain of power or authority.

Officers in a government, for example, form an escalating series of ranks or degrees of power, with each rank subject to the authority of the one on the next level above. In a majority of hierarchical arrangements, there are a larger number of people at the bottom than at the top.

Originally, the term was used to mean government by a body of priests. Currently, a hierarchy is used to denote any body of individuals arranged or classified according to capacity, authority, position, or rank.


(Arrangement in a series), noun categorization, chain, classification, collocation, gradation, grouping, order, order of succession, range, run, seriation, series, succession, system


(Persons in authority), noun authorities, bureaucracy, commanders, controllers, dictators, directors, government, heads, leadership power, management, managers, masters, officials, persons in power, powers, regency, regime, rulers, sovereignty
See also: class

HIERARCHY, eccl. law. A hierarchy signified, originally, power of the priest; for in the beginning of societies, the priests were entrusted with all the power but, among the priests themselves, there were different degrees of power and authority, at the summit of which was the sovereign pontiff, and this was called the hierarchy. Now it signifies, not so much the power of the priests as the border of power.

References in periodicals archive ?
15 reveals that the subordinates prefer a moderately high power distance between them and their immediate superior.
If the comment came from your teacher's immediate superior and was formulated as 'feedback', it wouldn't carry the same overtone as if it came from a pupil.
To address the issue, the armed forces are increasing the number of surveys and evaluations in which troops are asked to rate their commanders, while to increase accountability, Congress adopted a measure late last year requiring that the surveys be provided to a commander's immediate superior, the report added.
Athens has already convicted a former defence minister and Kantas's immediate superior for money laundering.
And the supervisor's immediate superior would only be wrongly implicated as he could not authorise the repair because the estimated cost was beyond his power to allow.
Performance of employees shall be appraised annually by the immediate superior provided the employees share the process of review performance related to them;
8220;It's a good practice to meet with the on-site manager's immediate superior - usually called a district manager - when you receive the operating statement to review the results and resolve any questions or problems.
Lars Reno Jakobsen is the right person to coordinate and promote our initiatives," says Kim Fejfer, CEO of APM Terminals, member of the Group's Executive Board and Lars Reno Jakobsen's immediate superior on behalf of the Executive Board.
This, it should be remembered, is the same man who was economic secretary to the Treasury when his immediate superior, chancellor Gordon Brown, turned down a bid of pounds 400m from racing for the Tote, triggering the debilitating series of events that five years later led to its sale for pounds 265m.
Responsible to his own government for the half a million men committed to his care, he was, however, under the orders of the French three-tier system of command, a cumbrous chain in which the third link, his immediate superior, General Billotte, was slowmoving, gave few orders and from whom nothing was heard for days on end.
In the case of Ersin Pulatli, who was remanded under close arrest for seven days by his immediate superior after going absent without leave from his garrison in April 2007, the court ruled that decision to deprive a serviceman of his liberty must be taken or reviewed by a competent and independent judicial body.
DEP/ OP for BCA must be approved by the Immediate Superior in Command (ISIC).

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