ETD system

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Tesi etd-12082018-211342

Thesis type
Tesi di dottorato di ricerca
Social Dominance Theory as a framework for understanding the asymmetrical relationships in work organizations: The interplay between subordinates' social dominance orientation, power tacticts and need for cognitive closure in a person-environment fit perspective
Settore scientifico disciplinare
Corso di studi
tutor Prof. Aiello, Antonio
controrelatore Prof.ssa Giannetti, Enrichetta
controrelatore Prof. Morselli, Davide
controrelatore Prof. Passini, Stefano
Parole chiave
  • social dominance
  • organization
  • group relations
  • social inequalities
  • social power
  • need for closure
  • person-environment fit
Data inizio appello
Data di rilascio
Riassunto analitico
The main aim of the present doctoral Thesis was to use the Social Dominance Theory (SDT; Sidanius & Pratto, 1999) as a framework for studying the production and the maintenance of social inequalities in organizational settings. The SDT posits that group-based hierarchies and inequalities are produced and maintained in societies. In particular, higher people are in social dominance orientation (SDO) higher is their desire to sustain group-based hierarchies.
Despite SDT has been studied in a wide range of fields, it needs to be deepened in organizational contexts where the role hierarchies (e.g., supervisors groups and subordinates groups) are often delineated by organizational charts.
In the present doctoral Thesis, I used SDT for studying the subordinates contribution in maintaining asymmetrical relationships in organizational environments. In particular, SDT posits that members of subordinates’ groups, especially those high in SDO, agree with the dominant-created agenda of legitimizing myths for preserving stable group hierarchies. I linked SDT with the interpersonal power interaction model (IPIM; Raven, Schwarzwald, & Koslowsky, 1998; Raven, 2008). This way, I studied the relationship between SDO and specific harsh power tactics. Harsh power tactics, being controlling and coercive, offer to members of subordinate groups low degrees of freedom in deciding to acquiesce or not to supervisors’ requests, contributing in “freezing” hierarchies in a specific organization. Thus, I expected high-SDO subordinates manifest a high willingness in acquiescing to harsh power tactics, conceived as a means for sustaining inequalities and supporting hierarchies in organizations.
I also considered different facets of the person-environment fit theory (Su, Rounds & Tracey, 1990) in order to study the subordinates' intra-personal fit, the person-supervisor fit, and the person-organization fit, as theoretical frameworks for deepening the association between subordinates’ SDO and their acquiescence to harsh power tactics.
In study 1 I found that SDO was associated with subordinates’ acquiescence to harsh power tactics (intra-personal fit) across time. In study 2 I found that the person-supervisor fit between subordinates’ acquiescence of harsh power tactics and their perception of supervisors’ use of harsh power tactics was strongly when subordinates reported low (vs. high) SDO in an organization with a hierarchy-enhancing function. In study 3 I found that a condition of person-organization misfit between subordinates high SDO and the hierarchy-attenuating function of the organization promotes a greater endorsement of harsh power tactics compared to a condition of person-environment fit (high-SDO in a hierarchy-enhancing organization). In study 4 I found that subordinates’ need for closure (NFCC – an epistemic motivation in avoiding ambiguity in a multitude of life’s domains; Kruglanski & Webster, 1996) supports the relationships between SDO and harsh power tactics. In particular, the NFCC contributes to inhibiting the uncertainty condition of person-organization misfit (high SDO levels among subordinates and the hierarchy-attenuating function of the organization).
Results, implications and future directions of the presented studies have been discussed in order to further deepening the study of SDT in organizational settings.