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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.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
Analysis of an adversarial labor/management situation in a Latin American industrial setting: A case study using Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.
Moreover, if the results are viewed through the lens of Maslow's hierarchy of needs, the Bukidnon third agers' basic needs such as food, shelter, safety, security, love and acceptance have already been sufficiently met since they are already motivated to achieve things that will satisfy their self-esteem', a need that corresponds to the level of 'spiritual wellness'.
"Investigating into the Relationship Between the Present Level of Tertiary Students' Needs Relative to Maslow's Hierarchy: A Case Study at the University of Mauritius." International Journal of Learning 18 (11): 203-219.
Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of needs (as shown in Gupta, 2014)
Using Maslow's hierarchy of needs, these incentives could be grouped as follows: Level 1--Bonuses in money or objects; Level 3--Thanks; Congratulations; Certificates of Merit; Quotation in Unit's Log; Level 4--Engraved small arms Decorations, Military Insignia and Awards.
The educational needs of the YBFR in this study were then applied to Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs to provide more robust conclusions and implications.
For this reason, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs may be useful (see Figure 1).
Drawing on theories of motivation such as Maslow's hierarchy and Hertzberg's theory of intrinsic and extrinsic rewards, Scharf affirms that when students are interested and motivated to perform well and when they work with topics with which they have some familiarity, they can contribute more easily and meaningfully to projects.
The literature review is also designed to provide an overview of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and McClelland's Need for Achievement theories.
In a work written in 2006, Agyekwena (see Ozad, 2012) draws a parallel between uses and gratification theory and Maslow's hierarchy of needs.
May be you need to revisit Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs!