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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 ?
If you head down the path of principles-based accounting, you would think concepts should hold a prominent position in the hierarchy," he comments.
Although Irish lawmakers were willing to solve the problem of illegitimacy by establishing "non-traditional" families, neither lawmakers nor members of the Hierarchy anticipated displacing the traditional, nuclear family as the foundation of Irish social life and in fact were adamant that adoption legislation not" .
Magnetic disks have clearly defined both a high-performance and high-capacity level in the hierarchy.
He brings out the special affinity that exists between the higher order of a hierarchy with the lower order of the hierarchy above.
Mumford's book makes a strong case that pressure from the hierarchy of the Catholic church got the report bottled up and ignored.
The new hierarchy does not mention SOPs or other documents issued over our objection; therefore, any such uncleared documents do not require accounting changes.
A commissioned study by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Initiate Systems reported that most enterprises have some form of data management in place, though they struggle with their existing and in-house approaches to hierarchy management.
Bailey and the Forest Service maintain TABULAR DATA OMITTED that another benefit of adopting the hierarchy is the improved understanding that can be gained when land managers take a wider perspective and view smaller ecosystems, such as stands, in terms of the larger forces and systems that shape them.
Anyway, if as the hierarchy insists the economy is on the rebound, nothing like that.
Business School, England) present eight papers that explore the phenomena of bureaucracy and hierarchy from the disciplinary perspective of organization studies.
The board indicated in its proposal that this is the start of a process that will eventually lead to a hierarchy with two levels: authoritative and nonauthoritative.
The author follows the lead of James Farr and Joan Scott, agreeing with them that refining sexual differences reinforced social order and hierarchy in Counter-Reformation Europe.