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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 ?
The ego level is the next step in Maslow's hierarchy.
Reshaping Maslow's hierarchy of needs to reflect today's educational and managerial philosophies.
While Maslow's hierarchy of needs helps us to understand the stages that people move through while trying to satisfy human needs, Lonergan's imperatives provide guidance on how to serve while helping people meet their needs.
The medical profession had reached the self-actualization stage of Maslow's hierarchy, she said.
Each statement contained one of the five need levels included in Maslow's hierarchy - security, social, esteem, autonomy, and self-actualization.
We use Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to demonstrate ways that you can knock your ex-spouse down a level or two," Collins explained, "and have fun doing it.
There are far more important considerations like power, recognition and fame that will make a person run for president or other top positions in the government (Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs).
It has been put together based on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, a paper that psychologist Abraham Maslow produced in 1943 which suggested that people are motivated to fulfil basic needs before they are able to move on to other needs and while the terminology can be slightly altered within the 15 statements, to match the business it focuses on, the principles stay the same - that actively engaged employees are more motivated and effective than those who aren't.
In the light of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, these classes are already meeting their physiological and safety needs and are more on the levels of self-esteem and recognition.
In Part II, he explains key concepts of Maslow's hierarchy of needs and Herzberg's motivation-hygiene theory and applies them to industry; material in this section is based on the author's thesis submitted to Oxford University for a higher research degree.