PreprintPDF Available

Undisputed Authority-The Illusion of Organizations without Hierarchy

Preprints and early-stage research may not have been peer reviewed yet.
Undisputed AuthorityThe Illusion of Organiza-
tions without Hierarchy
Jürgen Radel
This article discusses the presence and impact of authority in and on organiza-
tions. It argues that authority does exist in all organizations, at all times and on all
levels. This creates hierarchy and there is no chance to avoid it. If hierarchy is ne-
glected or is perhaps considered to be taboo (even unconsciously), this can be dan-
gerous for an organization. Switching from strict hierarchy to autonomy and de-
mocracy might be the most dangerous attempt. If either hierarchy or authority is
unconsciously neglected or if the concept is actively rejected by members of an
organization, this can limit the ability of individuals to navigate within that organi-
zation and raise anxiety in its members. Organizations struggle, because they are
pressured by political and social movements to re-negotiate authority and hierarchy.
Employees consider both aspects to be old fashioned and suppressive. They want
autonomy and democracy and they want to be heard, no matter how small the group
they associate with might be. It is argued that we need authority and hierarchy to
keep us in check. If we do not have such support, then we need to have abilities that
are necessary to constantly negotiate boundaries and make conflicts or taboos dis-
cussable. To obtain such abilities, experiential learning approaches might be a use-
ful form of support.
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Radel, HTW Berlin, FB3 Berlin Business School, Tresko-
wallee 8, 10318 Berlin, Germany. -
Organizational form and structure are a trend, influenced by Zeitgeist and the
term “organization” is a metaphor (Radel 2017)an organization in the mind
(Armstrong 2005) or a matrix in the mind (Barlett and Ghoshal 1990)that creates
a space for diverse phantasies and projections of its members. Contrary to organi-
zational form, which is fluid, authority and hierarchy have existed ever since God
(or whoever/whatever one may believe in) created Earth. As soon as one human
being met another, authority was visible and hierarchy was created.
Until today, authority and hierarchy have always existed as a result of the asym-
metry in and imbalance of resources, skill, knowledge, social status, etc. (see Fisher
1984). Organizations without authority and power are impossible to imagine (see
also Ameln & Heintel, 2016; Küpper & Ortmann, 1992: 8). Neglecting the existence
of asymmetry and the hierarchy that is based upon itor even (unconsciously) de-
claring hierarchy to be taboomight result in negative side effects for organiza-
tions. Before arguments are presented to support this statement, the different terms
that are used in this paper are defined a bit more clearly because they appear to be
(and in many ways are) similar.
In this paper, hierarchy is understood as authority
in its crystallized, mostly in-
flexible, and formalized form, which can often be found in organizational charts.
Authority and hierarchy are mutually dependent and come with power, forming a
triad. In organizations, authority can often be found at the higher levelshowever,
not exclusively (Hunter 2015). Individual authorities have formal or informal power
to get things done, either by doing things they themselves want or by getting others
to act in the interest of the authority. Individuals can obtain power as a result of
formal or informal authority. By exerting power, as an authority, individuals be-
come promotersagain, with or without formal powerwho can get things done
by utilizing their power on various levels and with different levers (about the
"promoter model" see Hauschildt & Gemünden, 1999, 2013; Witte, 1973, 1999).
Discussions with emerging leaders suggest that they seem to find it important to
differentiate between management and leadership. It appears that Bennis and Nanus
have influenced the perception on management versus leadership rather signifi-
cantly ever since their book first appeared in 1985, by stating that "Managers are
people who do things right and leaders are people who do the right thing" (2003, p.
20). In addition to the positive contribution this has made in terms of differentiating
teams, it might also have led to differing perceptions of the twovaluing one over
See also Schwarz regarding the tribal history (Stammesgeschichte) of power
(Schwarz 2016).
For a comprehensive overview of authority, see Bosetzky (1992, p. 29f.) and
Arendt (1961, p. 91ff.).
the other. Managerialism and the focus on the magic of the technique can sometimes
be observed in bureaucratic organizations in which individuals want to avoid un-
certainty and risk. The right technique, process, or system seems to be the salvation
that one can rely on. On the other hand, heroismi.e., the focus on a strong leader
can be a sign of regression for those employees who want to get back into the arms
of a loving mother. Either way, splitting management and leadership can be a mal-
adaptive response to dealing with painful anxiety in an organization (see Krantz and
Gilmore 1990).
Leaders and managers alike become authorities qua power they hold.
In the best
case, this is because power is given to them by their followers as a result of their
conviction that this person is a leader. Individuals sometimes actively claim power
either consciously (“I want to lead,” “No one else is doing it, so I step in”) or un-
consciously (a vacuum has been created because no one else is taking on the lead-
ership role). Furthermore, they either take this role on by themselves or are forced
by the group to take it on. Sometimes, a leadership role is ascribed to a person
through external stakeholders, thus forcing this person into an internal asymmetry
given that the role is not necessarily wanted by the person.
In such an asymmetric relationship, trust in the morals and competencies
(Elsbach and Currall 2012, p. 221ff.) of organizational authorities is extremely im-
portant on different levels, impacting well-being, voluntary cooperation, and organ-
izational performance (Bianchi et al. 2015; Bijlsma and Koopman 2003, p. 544f.;
Elsbach and Currall 2012, p. 217; Paliszkiewicz et al. 2014; Tyler and Degoey
Unfortunately, trust in authority seems to be deteriorating. Leaders are fallen he-
roes (Radel 2018) and members of the “lucky sperm club” (Young 2008, p. xvi) are
considered to be the bad guys. The positive side of authority appears to be neglected,
which might be a form of splitting between the leader and those being led, as de-
scribed above, or a social defense mechanism for forcing unwanted or painful things
out of one’s mind (on defenses see Cooper, 1989; Cramer, 2006; Menzies, 1960;
Radel & Schuster, 2019; Sandler & Freud, 1985; Vaillant, 1971, 1986, 1994).
What are the reasons for such deterioration? One reason might be disinformation
on a large scale. People do not want to put effort into getting information. It is also
convenient to remain in a dependent state. At the same time, the uncertainty of a
For a more detailed overview about (personalized and socialized) power, see
Bosetzky (1992, p. 31).
One example can be the identification of Greta Thunberg as a global leader or
figure by the media. This attribution by external stakeholders (outside of Fridays
for Future) creates an asymmetry that is based on the attention given by others,
regardless of whether Greta Thunberg accepts the attribution or not.
changing world leads to anxiety if those who are led by authorities do not have
enough negative capability (French 2001) to deal with the strange situation
(Ainsworth et al. 2015) of organizational change or world flux (Radel 2018). This
anxiety leads to regression under stress (see Barthol and Ku 1959) and longing for
comforting objects (for object relations and the attachment theory see, for example,
Bollas, 1987; Winnicott, 1951; and the works of Melanie Klein, Otto Kernberg,
Heinz Kohut, and Margaret Mahler ) that provide a holding environment (Donald
W. Winnicott 1960), an authority, while rejecting it at the same time (Bion 1949, p.
Consequently, the following question arises: Is it possible to design an organiza-
tion without formal hierarchy, as the Zeitgeist might suggest?
Societal Shift of Perspectives for Organizations
Organizations mirror the society because of the people who work in them. Or-
ganizations are also embedded in and influenced by the shifting political and social
fields that define the rules of appropriate behavior. “Currently it seems as if the
social order, and society itself, is undergoing a major reconstruction […]” (Radel
and Schuster 2019, p. 11).
One aspect of the reconstruction of society relates to the social divide and ine-
quality in several areas, which have been increasing for more than three decades
now—if we take income into account as an example (United Nations, 2020: 3). This
has become even more pronounced as a result of the COVID pandemic
( 2021).
In former times, inequality has generally been an accepted social factor. A part
of the history of humankind, inequality was often challenged by revolutions (e.g.,
French revolution) and other social riots of the “have-nots” or “have-little-want mo-
res,” while the “haves” were able to more or less successfully prevent changes in
the power asymmetry, holding on to what they possessed (see Alinksy 1971;
Kahneman et al. 1991).
In the last few years, the wave of the next social revolution seems to be building
up in tandem with the occurrence of the left-wing change in perspective (Eichhorn
2017). Inequality is being addressed and authorities who seem to be responsible for
it are being challenged.
This might have benefits in terms of reducing inequality
if the thriving for equality does not lead to a distorted vision of equality, as described
by Hartley in Facial Justice (2014).
Also see Foucault, who stated that power is usually considered to be restrictive,
poor, and negativeprobably because of the influence of Kant in western society
(Foucault et al. 2005, p. 222)
However, it currently seems as if the intent of the shifting mindset is positive
however, the impact has, thus far, been negative. Society seems to be dividing into
more and more numerous small, fragmented groups that create their own group
Such […] social groups affect individual behavior, not only because of
interdependence and instrumentality concerns but primarily for more abstract mean-
ing-seeking and social-distinctiveness reasons (Turner 1991)(Pagliaro et al. 2011,
p. 1118). Segmentation creates micro groups that develop an entitlement-claiming
attitude against other groups, often majority ones. Furthermore, in order to become
visible to others, each of these small groups also needs a representative, a spokes-
person, a leader. Even groups like Fridays For Future, which would like to be more
leaderless,” arein terms of public perceptionbeing led by authorities qua po-
sition or public “airtime.”
This ultimately leads to an escalation in the number of (self-proclaimed) leaders,
who were often a part of the group before. In addition to the sheer number of leaders,
other problems arise: if the group is small enough, then it becomes easier for an
individual within this group to become a leader. This might come at a cost, which
is best described by the quote: “In death's proximity, even small things, meager
people, slender thoughts cast impressively broad shadows.” (Polgar 1909, p. 715).
Furthermore, each leader embodies the expectations toward their position, espe-
cially when the position comes with social advantages (Fast et al. 2014, p. 1014).
The primary goal and task of a good leader (Souverän) must always be the wel-
fare and the common good of all (Foucault u. a., 2005: 159, own translation). Lead-
ers have to justify their leadership position, prove the necessity for and value of the
position to the group, and earn respect and acceptance from the in-group members
by enacting the moral norms of the group (Pagliaro et al. 2011, p. 1118).
This might lead to increased competition with other groups in order to secure
resources for the leaders’ (in-)groups. Trust also plays a vital role here. From the
perspective of the in-group members, “Trust is violated to the extent that expecta-
tions about context-specific task reliability are not met. […] [And] an individual or
group is perceived as not sharing key cultural values [distrust is engendered]”
(Sitkin and Roth 1993, p. 371). Trust is also endangered and disrupted when such
expectations are not met in a single, isolated event, but a "[…] violation is attributed
to an individual's typical context-specific behavior and there is a perception that
similar violations may recur within the same context […]” (Sitkin and Roth 1993,
p. 371). Since each small group also differentiates itself through the shared values
Here, moral values seem to be more important in the creation of “social norms,
than competency-based norms because they are perceived to have more profound
social identity implications(Pagliaro et al. 2011, p. 1118).
The origin of the quote is unclear (see Krieghofer 2017).
of the in-group members (Pagliaro et al. 2011) toward the out-group members, the
perception of trust violation by out-groups is highly likely. Harm that results from
trust violations includes a damaged sense of civic order and a damaged social iden-
tity (Bies et al. 1996, p. 248ff.).
Modern society is drifting toward an “I society” (Kets de Vries 2018; Radel and
Schuster 2019, p. 11f.), where the individual can be perceived as the smallest iden-
tity group if he or she pairs up with a handful of others in order to claim what is
(from a subjective perspective) rightfully their share.
The outcome is a further division of and segmentation into groups that drift away
from one another—each group polarizing and labeling, not moving toward others
which can be observed in the current politics of several western countries. The
“other” is attacked and resources are battled over. In what some describe using the
controversial team “oppression Olympics” (Davis, 1998; for criticism see Yuval-
Davis, 2012)who is worse off than the other?
In organizations, authorities in hierarchical positions constitute the governing
bodypoliticians in and for society. “The environment of organizations consist of
institutionalized expectation-structures […]” (Walgenbach and Meyer 2008, p. 11,
own translation) that have to adapt to the expectations of the environment in which
they are embedded and follow a “logic of appropriateness” (March and Olsen 2004).
The environment of each organization creates both political and social pressure to
which the organization (Walgenbach and Meyer 2008, p. Kindle position 234 of
6124) has to submit to in order to obtain access to resources that politics and society
can provide. If the political divide becomes greater in our society, especially during
the oppression Olympics with its social justice warrior athletes, the battleground
will also be moving into organizations.
“So it appears, that organizations do not become active in certain societal do-
mains, because they believe in more efficiency, because of their engagement, but
because such social engagement is expected from modern organizations.”
(Walgenbach and Meyer 2008, p. Kindle position 264 of 6124, own translation)
Being in a struggle for resources might lead to stress that might lead to regres-
sionwhich might lead to a wish for strong leaders of the small athletic teams,
guiding the lost individuals that who will also rejected the once-found leaders (see
Bion 1949, p. 295).
Based on the pressures described above, some organizations try to reduce their
reliance on hierarchy, providing employees with more autonomy,
which isas we
argue herea good attempt, albeit a dangerous one.
The Illusion of Abundant Hierarchy
If more decision power is distributed onto individuals, for various reasons, re-
sponsibility also shifts, which is the shadow side of participation and is not always
well-received by those employees who claim to have more decision making-author-
ity (Radel 2017; Radel and Schuster 2019). Hence, reducing hierarchy comes with
several potential issues:
1. The habit of being led.
2. Unlearning habits, as a leader and as the led, might lead to chaos or con-
3. Different socialization leads to diverse values and beliefs.
4. Fantasies regarding what is right and wrong.
5. Blending tangible structures into something that can only be understood in
an informal way.
First, people in organizations are used to authorities in higher hierarchical posi-
tions who make decisions. They are dependent on leaders who carry out most of the
decision-making tasks (Schwarz 2019, p. 124). One benefit of working for such
leaders is that they serve as guides who produce ready-made decisions and phrases,
allowing the followers to be liberated from the trouble of reasoning themselves (Le
Bon 2002, p. 74).
This unlearning takes time and comes with a risk, which is the second downside.
Individuals have to take responsibility for their decisions and actions, which can be
perceived as a burden for some, especially if they have to break their routine. If they
are able to break their habit and routine of being led, then leaders must accept it.
However, if they want to stick to their habit of leading as well, then groups will be
in conflict with such leaders (see Schwarz 2019, p. 126). If leaders are faster in
adapting to the new behavior (to get out of the way) and groups are too slow to
adapt at the same pace, then a vacuum is created and chaos emerges (ibid.).
The third issue is to agree to what (and who) is right and wrong. Our socialization
shapes what is considered to be acceptable behavior and what is ultimately thought
of as true. As Jung suggests in a letter to Schmid-Guisan (2013, p. 44f.), the world
should be viewed “in the light of two truths.” These two truths would be “two dif-
ferent, but equally true, perceptions of one and the same situation” (Jung & Schmid-
For a detailed overview about autonomy to act (Handlungsautonomie) and au-
tonomy to negotiate (Verhandlungsautonomie), see Matys (2014, p. 119ff.).
Guisan 2013, 4445, in: Falzeder, 2016: 23). Truth is temporary and local. It shifts
over time and can be different, depending on where in the world it is located.
In a
small group, it might be easier to deal with different truths; however, the larger and
more diverse that a group becomes, the more individual belief systems might bear
the potential for conflict (on belief systems see, for example, Parsons, 1951).
The latter seems to especially be true when the fourth issue is taken into consid-
eration (which is directly connected to the third issue): the illusion of moral superi-
ority (Tappin and McKay 2017) and the exaggeration and ingenuousness of the sen-
timents of crowds. “In crowds the foolish, ignorant, and envious persons are freed
from the sense of their insignificance and powerlessness, and are possessed instead
by the notion of brutal and temporary but immense strength” (Le Bon 2002, p. 22),
which might make crowds in organizations difficult to handle.
Informal structures are the final issue and they co-exist in any organization. Pure
formal hierarchy seems to be an illusion as well as the accuracy of organizational
charts (Perrow 1986, p. 35). Informal structures even seem to be the important ones,
as research suggests: “it was shown that when informal linkages are included, the
path distances over which information flows through the organization are reduced
relative to the distance as measured by the formal structure alone” (Hunter 2015, p.
Removing formal hierarchy makes authority and hierarchy less tangible. It is a
bit like a pile of sugar that vanishes in a soft drinkwe do not see it, which makes
it easier to ignore. However, if we actually look at this pile of sugar by placing it
directly in front of us, we might actually be shocked by the amount and be able to
visualize the problem. As a result, we might reject drinking the soft drink. Hierar-
chy, in this case, is tangible and clear. So-called modern organizational forms blend
the sugar pile into the liquid and mix it into the organizationso that it is still there
but is not tangible. This makes it dangerous because its impact on our health is
harder to assess. When, at the time of its removal, hierarchy is a taboo that cannot
be spoken about, things become even more complicated because employees are ei-
ther not allowed to speak up or choose not to speak up because they fear negative
repercussions (see Fast u. a., 2014). Thus, an organization becomes silent (Morrison
and Milliken 2000; Ryan and Oestreich 1991) or violently polite (Petriglieri 2014)
when issues cannot be addressed any longer.
So the question iscan an authority serve as a custodian of values and be a force
for good? To answer this question with a clear “Yes,” would require the authority
figure to be morally superior to the employees, which is an illusionas Tappin and
In 2020, there still existed the death penalty for the “transgression” of homo-
sexuality in several countries, which is a tragic example of how different values are
seen. On changing biases, see Charlesworth and Banaji (2019).
McKay suggest (2017)and to be able to transcend the values and norms that are
forced upon the authority figure by the group they belong to. Even worse, in re-
search regarding moral superiority, “[…] virtually all individuals irrationally in-
flated their moral qualities” (Tappin and McKay 2017, p. 629). Also, managers and
authorities do not greatly differ from regular peoplewhat’s more, they are some-
times the lost and abandoned individuals in their organizations (Radel 2018). To
use a metaphor, leaders are like shepherds, but
“[…] the shepherd is another sheep. He may be dressed up in a long cloak and
accompanied by a tall staff with a crook on the end of it or by other formidable
symbols of high office. But underneath the cloak is one of the sheep, and not, alas,
a member of a more intelligent and more far-seeing species.” (Rioch 1971, p. 248).
However, that does not mean that “no leaders” is the solution. Once authorities
break down or are abundant, chaos seems to be deadlier than potential tyranny
(White 2011, p. 12). If there are no leaders anymoreelected by the people and
serving as custodians of valuesand everyone gets the chance to reach the feeding
trough, then crowds will exploit the system in which they live. Such tribes become
violent in the absence of government or powerful neighbors (Pinker 2018, p. 199)
who keep them in check (see also Wrangham & Glowacki, 2012).
It seems that there are numerous potential risks in reducing leadership and the
exertion of authority that is in a clear, transparent, hierarchical form. “A crowd is a
servile flock that is incapable of ever doing without a master” (Le Bon 2002, p. 72)
and the larger an organization becomes, the less it possible “[…] to allow personnel
to ‘do their own thing,’ no matter how much we might prefer that” (Perrow 1986,
p. 21). However, there are also positive aspects of reducing hierarchy and of spread-
ing authority (and responsibility) more broadly onto individuals. So why not give it
a try, allowing people to do their own thing, and bring the illusion of abundant hi-
erarchy to reality?
Selfish, Anxious, and Depressed Individuals: The Shirt Is Nearer than the
“Madness is something rare in individualsbut in groups, parties, peoples, and
ages, it is the rule.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Crowds are addicted by destruction” ~ Canetti (2014, p. 18f.)
One of the issues that arises when individuals or small groups are allowed to
decide to do their “own thing” has already been described aboveas the shift to-
ward an “I society.” This is a term that
“[…] suggests there has been a strong shift towards Gesellschafta societal
model where human associations are governed by rationality and self-interest, and
interactions are of a more impersonal nature. With this transition has come a rise in
individualism, contributing to the emergence of the “I” societya social entity that
is characterized by conspicuous narcissistic behavior.” (Kets de Vries 2018, p. 1).
From the perspective of the author, social media plays an important role in the
progress toward an “I society.” Some argue that mass communication has always
existed and that only the medium has changed. From television, radio, and newspa-
per to smartphone and internet. However, this does not seem to be entirely true and
there are several issues with this line of reasoning:
1. The number of channels through which and groups in which to communi-
cate has increased.
2. Groups serve as echo chambers (bubbles) for confirming existing beliefs.
3. It has become extremely easy to create and distribute content.
In the pre-social-media era, broadly speaking, there were only several leading
media outlets available. Now, there are almost innumerable options for receiving
and sending news. In addition to the sheer number of currently existing outlets, me-
dia now has a truly global reach and can influence many more people than any
newspaper could previously have done. In this broad world of media, each group
can find its placehowever small it might be. If it does not yet exist, it can easily
be createdas a group on Telegram, for instance. This group would then serve as
an echo chamber (Cinelli et al. 2021),
confirming the beliefs of its members. At
the same time, it is very easy to be selective and to force unwanted information out
of one’s mind. Content creators can be anyone with internet access, regardless of
what their personal qualifications actually are. This dramatically increases the
amount of available information while it simultaneously reduces quality because it
becomes impossible to fact check such volume of information.
It is also easier to influence people using Deep Fakes, Micro Targeting, and even
less sophisticated methods of disinformation, which are often also applied in politics
(Allcott et al. 2019; Bradshaw and Howard 2018; East Stratcom Task Force 2021;
Shu et al. 2020), simply by following the rules that Le Bon had described as early
as 1895:
For criticism on the existence and impact of Eco Chambers, see Bruns (2017,
2019) and Dubois & Blank (2018).
Most people, when using Google, do not klick on the second page of the search
results. On the contrary, most users only look at the top five search engine results
on the first page (SERP).
“When, however, it is proposed to imbue the mind of a crowd with ideas and
beliefswith modern social theories, for instancethe leaders have recourse to
different expedients. The principal of them are three in number and clearly de-
finedaffirmation, repetition, and contagion.” (Le Bon 2002, p. 77).
Even if disinformation can often be found in the area of politics, it shapes the
beliefs and influences the opinions of individualswho, in turn, impact organiza-
Additionally, it has become extremely easy to create content for people who are
not trained professionals and are not aware of professional standards in journalism.
Technical entry barriers are extremely low. If one manages to reach a broad audi-
ence as an influencer, one can tweet, post, and share any opinion, reaching a very
large audience. The audience members hardly have a chance to fact check the sheer
flood of information that is sweeping over them in a never-ending stream of opin-
ions and breaking newscreated and uploaded within seconds. This is in sharp
contrast with the notion of breaking news in the newspaper era, which took signifi-
cantly longer to spread and were much more limited in their reach. At the same
time, in this previous era, breaking news were usually created and distributed by
professional journalists.
Hence, it is clear that social media opens up a whole new
world and that it has important implications for organizations.
Besides the well-known impact of social media on mental healthe.g., depres-
sion due to comparison and feedback seeking (Appel et al. 2016; Nesi and Prinstein
2015), increased anxiety (Vannucci et al. 2017), and fear of missing out (Dhir et al.
2018)social media might have another impact on the way in which individuals
perceive authority. Usually, people follow successful influencers, look at beautiful
images, and read success stories on social media. Life on TikTok seems to be fun.
This might serve to create an impression in one’s mind that others are better off than
me. Such experiencesupward comparison (Vogel et al. 2014) and social compar-
ison (Wood 1996)might also increase envy
(Liu et al. 2019; Wu and Srite 2021)
and the impression that one is worse off than everyone else and that the social gap
is becoming broader.
In both societies and organizations, it is usually those who are on top (govern-
ment, leadership) that are expected to take care of the overall well-being of the
members of society or organization. And yet, the authorities, the members of the
“lucky sperm club,” do not seem to be supportive anymore. The caregivers have
Aside from fake news and sensationalism, which seem to have sold very well
in very early times. See, for example, the “Moon Hoax” by The Sun in 1835, as a
popular example.
On Envy, see Haubl (2001).
turned into bad mothers.
For the children, the employees, there seems to be only
one solutionfocus on themselves and their primary group,
which is “character-
ized by intimate face-to-face association and cooperation. They are primary in sev-
eral senses, but chiefly in that they are fundamental in forming the social nature and
ideals of the individual” (Cooley 1909, p. 23). Within the primary group, each indi-
vidual tries to maximize the benefit, even making decisions that could be thought
of as morally questionable or unethical, like the highly controversial rat experiments
in relation to the study about morals and markets show (Falk and Szech 2013) and
which were immediately criticized afterward (Breyer and Weimann 2014). In addi-
tion to the experiments of Falk and Szech, data from several experiments with stu-
dents show that their behavior is geared toward maximizing their individual benefit
when they are allowed to cheat the systemeven if that might mean potentially
harming the organization they are in (Radel and Schuster 2020a, 2020b, 2021;
Schuster and Radel 2019). However, the last remarks could especially shed negative
light on individuals seeking their own benefit rather than taking care of the society
as a whole. This seems to be an attitude that is widely criticized and thought of as
being negative or “bad.” However, not cheating the systemif you canand not
taking care of oneself before others would be stupid, wouldn’t it?
A similar idea
had been proposed by Mandeville, in his Fable of the Bees (1729). Afterward, he
was heavily criticized by the advocates of the state and the spiritual order who were
confronted with a distorting mirror of society. The assumption was that someone
like Mandeville, presenting such an immoral view of society, must consequently be
an immoral person himself (Euchner 1973, p. 74).
Embracing Hierarchy and Bowing to Authority
As it might have become by now, this paper tries to make a strong argument for
the claim that authority is inevitable and, with it, hierarchy as well. From the per-
spective of the author, most demands for more responsibility and democracy in the
workplace seem to be one of the often-described management trends and fashions
(Abrahamson 1996; Kieser 1997), which are influenced by the Zeitgeist and by
trendsetters like consulting companies, gurus, and media publications (see
Abrahamson 1996). It is merely an appealing (marketing) narrative that seems to
sell well and not necessarily a well-thought-out shift toward the good, unfortu-
About the concept of the bad mother,” see Kramer (1995) and May (2001).
Because of the limitations of this article, the concepts of in-group and out-
group cannot be discussed; however, they might be valuable in terms of favorizing
and cooperation (see, for example, Brewer, 1999; Parker & Janoff-Bulman, 2013;
Weisel & Böhm, 2015).
See Foucault and his remarks on the economic and political benefits of prosti-
tution and crime in general (Foucault et al. 2005, p. 233f.).
It is impossible not to be led: “As soon as a certain number of living beings are
gathered together, whether they be animals or men, they place themselves instinc-
tively under the authority of a chief” (Le Bon 2002, p. 72). It is even risky to allow
the “tribe” do its own thing. At the same time, the participation of employees cannot
be suppressed and active participation and autonomy of employees can be very
beneficial for an organization.
Luhmann speaks about useful illegality (brauchbare Illegalität): When an or-
ganization tries to limit participation of its members, participation will develop in
secret (Matys 2014, p. 123).
Simultaneously, it also makes sense to manage in the greywith less rules and
less questions asked. Each rule that is not defined can provide freedom for an indi-
vidual. This grey and fuzzy area can be used for good, which could lead to innova-
tiona potentially positive outcome for an organizationor to exploitation.
It might make sense to seek a balance of holding and restricting when we discuss
the triad of authority, hierarchy, and power. Such balance could provide a structured
holding environment and contain anxiety.
However, if the triad becomes
taboo in an organization and is kept at the sub-
conscious level, then it becomes dangerous because it is intangible and unknown.
Elements of the triad have to be integrated and not split off because of a manage-
ment trend that sounds fancy but makes it harder to navigate within organizations.
Two things might help exploit the benefits of a hierarchy-less organization. 1)
To accept and allow shifting patterns of authority, like a see-saw. In one project, an
employee might be the one with the most authority in comparison to other members
of the group because of that project’s specific requirements. He or she would lead
the group. In another project, tables may turn and someone else might leading in-
stead. This also involves the ability to let go of the privileges that come with au-
The challenge here is to be able to recognize and analyze shifting patterns
of authority at work in the here-and-now and to create a culture that enables the
discussion of (subconscious) patterns and conflicts. 2) To be able to develop such
skills, experience-centered training approaches are needed (Radel and Schuster
2020b, 2021; Schuster and Radel 2018, 2019).
However, using these approaches
might come with a risk because conflicts can surface and become apparent. If it is
Here, the passive form is used intentionally. It is not actively declared taboo,
which would be a paradox.
Also, for the difference between auctoritas and potestas see Arendt (1961:
130ff.) and Eisler (1980: 586f.).
Also, see the paper by Schuster and Ochsenreither in this volume.
not possible to solve these conflicts during training
and if facilitators are inexpe-
rienced, then these approaches might even be harmful. If successful, members of an
organization might develop a certain maturity with respect to authority, group dy-
namic patterns, and interpersonal dynamics that they might ultimately decide to
democratically reject democracy (King and Land 2018).
Abrahamson, E. (1996). Management fashion. Academy of Management Review,
21(1), 254285.
Ainsworth, M. D. S., Blehar, M. C., Waters, E., & Wall, S. N. (2015). Patterns of
attachment: A psychological study of the strange situation. Psychology Press.
Alinksy, S. (1971). Rules for radicals: A practical primer for realistic radicals.
Random House.
Allcott, H., Gentzkow, M., & Yu, C. (2019). Trends in the diffusion of
misinformation on social media. Research & Politics, 6(2),
Ameln, F., & Heintel, P. (2016). Macht in Organisationen: Denkwerkzeuge für
Führung, Beratung und Change Management. Stuttgart: Schäffer-Poeschel.
Appel, H., Gerlach, A. L., & Crusius, J. (2016). The interplay between Facebook
use, social comparison, envy, and depression. Current opinion in psychology,
9, 4449.
Arendt, H. (1961). Between Past and Future. Eight Exercises in Political Thought.
New York: The Viking Press.
Armstrong, D. (2005). Organization in the mind: Psychoanalysis, group relations
and organizational consultancy. (R. French, Ed.). London/New Yorl: Karnac.
Barlett, C. A., & Ghoshal, S. (1990). Matrix management: Not a structure, a frame
of mind. Harvard business review, 68(4), 138145.
Barthol, R. P., & Ku, N. D. (1959). Regression under stress to first learned behavior.
Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 59(1), 134136.
Bennis, W., & Nanus, B. (2003). The strategies for taking charge. Leaders, New
York: Harper. Row (2nd ed., Vol. 41). Harper Business Essentials.
Bianchi, E. C., Brockner, J., Van den Bos, K., Seifert, M., Moon, H., van Dijke, M.,
& De Cremer, D. (2015). Trust in decision-making authorities dictates the
form of the interactive relationship between outcome fairness and procedural
fairness. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41(1), 1934.
Bies, R. J., Tripp, T. M., Kramer, R. M., & Tyler, T. R. (1996). Beyond distrust:
“Getting Even” and the Need for Revenge. In R. M. Kramer & T. R. Tyler
Due to the length limitations of this paper, some well-established formats, such
as the Tavistock Leicester Conference (Miller 2004), the NTL HI Lab, the T-Group
(Krainz 2006, p. 27), and Organizational Laboratory (Duwe 2018, p. 37ff.), cannot
be mentioned here in detail.
(Eds.), Trust in organizations: Frontiers of theory and research (pp. 246
260). Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc.
Bijlsma, K., & Koopman, P. (2003). Introduction: Trust within organisations.
Personnel Review, 32(5), 543555.
Bion, W. R. (1949). Experiences in groups: IV. Human Relations, 2(1), 295303.
Bollas, C. (1987). The shadow of the object: Psychoanalysis of the unthought
known. The Shadow of the Object: Psychoanalysis of the Unthought Known.
New York: Columbia University Press.
Bosetzky, H. (1992). Mikropolitik, Machiavellismus und Machtkumulation. In W.
Küpper & G. Ortmann (Eds.), Mikropolitik: Rationalität, Macht und Spiele in
Organisationen (pp. 2737). Springer.
Bradshaw, S., & Howard, P. N. (2018). The global organization of social media
disinformation campaigns. Journal of International Affairs, 71(1.5), 2332.
Brewer, M. B. (1999). The psychology of prejudice: Ingroup love and outgroup
hate? Journal of social issues, 55(3), 429444.
Breyer, F., & Weimann, J. (2014). Of morals, markets and mice: A comment on
Falk and Szech.
Bruns, A. (2017). Echo chamber? What echo chamber? Reviewing the evidence. In
6th Biennial Future of Journalism Conference (FOJ17).
Bruns, A. (2019). Are filter bubbles real? (Digital Fu.). Medford, MA: Polity Press.
Canetti, E. (2014). Masse und Macht (3rd ed.). Frankfurt/Main: Fischer
Taschenbuch Verlag.
Charlesworth, T. E. S., & Banaji, M. R. (2019). Research: How Americans’ Biases
Are Changing (or Not) Over Time. Harvard Business Review.
decreasing? Accessed 7 March 2021
Cinelli, M., Morales, G. D. F., Galeazzi, A., Quattrociocchi, W., & Starnini, M.
(2021). The echo chamber effect on social media. Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences, 118(9).
Cooley, C. H. (1909). Social organization: A study of the larger mind. Charles
Scribner’s Sons, New York.
Cooper, S. H. (1989). Recent contributions to the theory of defense mechanisms: A
comparative view. Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association,
37(4), 865891.
Cramer, P. (2006). Protecting the self: Defense mechanisms in action. New York:
Guilford Press.
Davis, A. Y. (1998). De colores means all of us: Latina views for a multi-colored
century. In Martínez, Elizabeth (1989) - De colores means all of us: Latina
views for a multi-colored century (pp. ixxii). Cambridge, Massachusetts:
South End Press.
Dhir, A., Yossatorn, Y., Kaur, P., & Chen, S. (2018). Online social media fatigue
and psychological wellbeingA study of compulsive use, fear of missing out,
fatigue, anxiety and depression. International Journal of Information
Management, 40, 141152.
Dubois, E., & Blank, G. (2018). The echo chamber is overstated: the moderating
effect of political interest and diverse media. Information, communication &
society, 21(5), 729745.
Duwe, D. H. (2018). Von der Systemabwehr zur Organisationsbewusstheit.
Prozessanalyse und Wirkungsforschung zum Erfahrungslernen im
Organisationstraining (Schriften zur Gruppen- und Organisationsdynamik).
Wiesbaden: Springer.
East Stratcom Task Force. (2021). VILIFYING GERMANY; WOOING
Accessed 9 March 2020
Eichhorn, M. (2017). 100 Jahre Fake News. Frankfurter Allgemeine
Sonntagszeitung, p. 6 (Politik Ressort). Frankfurt/Main.
Eisler, R. (1980). Historisches wörterbuch der philosophie. (J. Ritter & K. Gründer,
Eds.) (Vol. Band (Vol.). Baselel: Schwabe & Co. AG.
Elsbach, K. D., & Currall, S. C. (2012). Understanding Threats to Leader
Trustworthiness.: Why it´s Better to Be Called “Incompetent” than
“Immoral”. In R. M. Kramer & T. L. Pittinsky (Eds.), Kramer, R. M., &
Pittinsky, T. L. (Eds.). (2012). Restoring trust in organizations and leaders:
Enduring challenges and emerging answers. (pp. 217240). New York:
Oxford University Press.
Euchner, W. (1973). Egoismus und Gemeinwohl: Studien zur Geschichte der
bürgerlichen Philosophie. Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp.
Falk, A., & Szech, N. (2013). Morals and markets. science, 340(6133), 707–711.
Falzeder, E. (2016). Types of Truth: Jung’s Philosophical Roots. Jung Journal,
10(3), 1430.
Fast, N. J., Burris, E. R., & Bartel, C. A. (2014). Managing to stay in the dark:
Managerial self-efficacy, ego defensiveness, and the aversion to employee
voice. Academy of Management Journal, 57(4), 10131034.
Fisher, S. (1984). Institutional authority and the structure of discourse. Discourse
Processes, 7(2), 201224.
Foucault, M., Ewald, F., Lagrange, J., Defert, D., Ansén, R., Bischoff, M., et al.
(2005). Analytik der Macht. Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp.
French, R. (2001). “Negative capability”: managing the confusing uncertainties of
change. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 14(5), 480492.
Hartley, L. P. (2014). Facial justice. Penguin UK.
Haubl, R. (2001). Neidisch sind immer nur die anderen: über die Unfähigkeit,
zufrieden zu sein. CH Beck.
Hauschildt, J., & Gemünden, H. G. (1999). Das Promotoren-Modell im
Spannungsfeld von Erklärung und Gestaltung. In Promotoren (pp. 15).
Hauschildt, J., & Gemünden, H. G. (2013). Promotoren: Champions der
Innovation. Springer-Verlag.
Hunter, S. D. (2015). Combining theoretical perspectives on the organizational
structure-performance relationship. Journal of Organization Design, 4(2),
2437. (2021). Covid-19 and inequality. Accessed 6 March 2021
Jung, C. G., & Schmid-Guisan, H. (2013). The Question of Psychological Types:
The Correspondence of CG Jung and Hans Schmid-Guisan, 1915-1916 (Vol.
8). Princeton University Press.
Kahneman, D., Knetsch, J. L., & Thaler, R. H. (1991). The endowment effect, Loss
Aversion, and Status Quo Bias. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 5(1), 193
Kets de Vries, M. (2018). Living in the “I” World (No. 2018/56/EFE). INSEAD
Working Paper.
Kieser, A. (1997). Rhetoric and myth in management fashion. Organization, 4(1),
King, D., & Land, C. (2018). The democratic rejection of democracy: Performative
failure and the limits of critical performativity in an organizational change
project. Human Relations, 71(11), 15351557.
Krainz, E. E. (2006). Gruppendynamik als Wissenschaft. In P. Heintel (Ed.),
Betrifft: TEAM. Dynamische Prozesse in Gruppen. (1st ed., pp. 7–28).
Wiesbaden: Springer VS.
Kramer, R. (1995). “The ‘bad mother’ Freud has never seen”: Otto rank and the
birth of object-relations theory. Journal of the American Academy of
Psychoanalysis, 23(2), 293321.
Krantz, J., & Gilmore, T. N. (1990). The splitting of leadership and management as
a social defense. Human Relations, 43(2), 183204.
Krieghofer, G. (2017). “Wenn die Sonne der Kultur niedrig steht, werfen selbst
Zwerge lange Schatten.” Karl Kraus (angeblich). Zitatforschung.
niedrig-steht_83.html. Accessed 15 March 2021
Küpper, W., & Ortmann, G. (1992). Mikropolitik: Rationalität, Macht und Spiele
in Organisationen. (W. Küpper & G. Ortmann, Eds.) (2nd ed.). Wiesbaden:
Le Bon, G. (2002). The crowd: A study of the popular mind. Mineola, New Xork:
Dover Publications.
Liu, H., Wu, L., & Li, X. (2019). Social media envy: How experience sharing on
social networking sites drives millennials’ aspirational tourism consumption.
Journal of travel research, 58(3), 355369.
Mandeville, B. de. (1729). The Fable of the Bees: Or, Private Vices, Publick
Benefits (Vol. 2). J. Tonson.
March, J. G., & Olsen, J. P. (2004). The logic of appropriateness. In The Oxford
handbook of political science (pp. 478497).
Matys, T. (2014). Macht, Kontrolle und Entscheidungen in Organisationen (2nd
ed.). Wiesbaden: Springer.
May, U. (2001). Abraham´s Discovery of the Bad Mother. A Contribution to the
History of the Theory of Depression. International Jornal of Psychoanalysis,
82, 283305.
Menzies, I. E. P. (1960). A case-study in the functioning of social systems as a
defence against anxiety: A report on a study of the nursing service of a general
hospital. Human relations, 13(2), 95121.
Miller, E. J. (2004). “ The’Leicester’model” revisited. In E. J. Miller, L. J. Gould,
L. Stapley, & M. Stein (Eds.), Experiential learning in organizations.
Applications of the Tavistock group relations approach. (pp. 1117).
London/New York: Karnac Books.
Morrison, E. W., & Milliken, F. J. (2000). Organizational silence: A barrier to
change and development in a pluralistic world. Academy of Management
Nesi, J., & Prinstein, M. J. (2015). Using social media for social comparison and
feedback-seeking: Gender and popularity moderate associations with
depressive symptoms. Journal of abnormal child psychology, 43(8), 1427
Pagliaro, S., Ellemers, N., & Barreto, M. (2011). Sharing moral values: Anticipated
ingroup respect as a determinant of adherence to morality-based (but not
competence-based) group norms. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin,
37(8), 1117–1129.
Paliszkiewicz, J., Koohang, A., Gołuchowski, J., & Horn Nord, J. (2014).
Management trust, organizational trust, and organizational performance:
advancing and measuring a theoretical model. Management and Production
Engineering Review, 5(1), 3241.
Parker, M. T., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (2013). Lessons from morality-based social
identity: The power of outgroup “hate,” not just ingroup “love.” Social Justice
Research, 26(1), 8196.
Parsons, T. (1951). The social system (First Edit.). Glencoe, Illinois: The Free Press.
Perrow, C. (1986). Complex Organizations. A Critical Essay (3rd ed.). New York:
McGraw-Hill, Inc.
Petriglieri, G. (2014). Why Work Is Lonely. Harvard Business Review.
Pinker, S. (2018). Enlightenment now: The case for reason, science, humanism, and
progress. New York: Viking / Penguin.
Polgar, A. (1909). Der Ruf des Lebens. In S. Jacobsohn (Ed.), Die Schaubühne
(Fünfter Ja., pp. 713717). Berlin-Westend: Erich Reiß Verlag.
Radel, J. (2017). Organization as a Challenge . A reflection of group d " ynamic
processes between leader and. Wirtschaft und Management, 25(November),
Radel, J. (2018). The leader as an abandoned child within the strange situation of
organizational change. A perspective on attachment theory and its
implications for the role of an authority figure. In M. Knaut (Ed.),
KREATIVITÄT + X = INNOVATION: Beiträge und Positionen 2018 (pp.
149201). Berlin: BWV Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag.
Radel, J., & Schuster, R. J. (2019). Ego Defense Mechanisms as a Tool of Managers
to Cope with Boundaries during Organizational Transformation. Beiträge und
Positionen der HTW Berlin 2019, 1019.
Radel, J., & Schuster, R. J. (2020a). The Gift of Leadership (Case). The Case
Radel, J., & Schuster, R. J. (2020b). The Gift of Leadership (Teaching Note). The
Case Centre.
Radel, J., & Schuster, R. J. (2021). Die 49 Punkte Intervention. Gruppe. Interaktion.
Organisation. Zeitschrift für Angewandte Organisationspsychologie, (3), in
Rioch, M. J. (1971). “All we like sheep-”(Isaiah 53: 6): followers and leaders.
Psychiatry, 34(3), 258273.
Ryan, K. D., & Oestreich, D. K. (1991). Driving fear out of the workplace: How to
overcome the invisible barriers to quality, productivity, and innovation.
Sandler, J., & Freud, A. (1985). The analysis of defense: The ego and the
mechanisms of defense revisited. New York: International Universities Press
Schuster, R. J., & Radel, J. (2018). A Reflection on the (Harvard) Case Method
from a Group Dynamics Perspective: Connecting Transcendent Knowledge
with Immanent Phenomena. In Emotionale Intelligenz in Organisationen (pp.
279314). Springer.
Schuster, R. J., & Radel, J. (2019). Negotiating boundaries. A brief reflection of a
power and discipline focused intervention in a hierarchical public sector
organization. In S. Molthagen-Schnöring (Ed.), Grenzen in Zeiten
technologischer und sozialer Disruption. (pp. 262267). Berlin: BWV
Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag.
Schwarz, G. (2016). Zur Stammesgeschichte der Macht. In F. Ameln & P. Heintel
(Eds.), Macht in Organisationen: Denkwerkzeuge für Führung, Beratung und
Change Management (pp. 510). Stuttgart: Schäffer-Poeschel.
Schwarz, G. (2019). Die ,,Heilige Ordnung der Männer. Die ,,Heilige Ordnung
der Männer. Hierarchie, Gruppendynamik und die neue Genderlogik. (6.).
Wiesbaden: Springer.
Shu, K., Bhattacharjee, A., Alatawi, F., Nazer, T. H., Ding, K., Karami, M., & Liu,
H. (2020). Combating disinformation in a social media age. Wiley
Interdisciplinary Reviews: Data Mining and Knowledge Discovery, 10(6), 1
Sitkin, S. B., & Roth, N. L. (1993). Explaining the limited effectiveness of legalistic
“remedies” for trust/distrust. Organization science, 4(3), 367392.
Tappin, B. M., & McKay, R. T. (2017). The Illusion of Moral Superiority. Social
Psychological and Personality Science, 8(6), 623631.
Turner, J. C. (1991). Social influence. Buckingham, UK: Open University Press.
Tyler, T. R., & Degoey, P. (1996). Trust in organizational authorities. In R. M.
Kramer & T. R. Tyler (Eds.), Trust in organizations: Frontiers of theory and
research (pp. 331356). London, New Delhi: Sage Thousand Oaks, CA.
United Nations. (2020). World SOCIAL REPORT 2020. Inequality in a Rapidly
Changing World. World social report 2020.
Vaillant, G. E. (1971). Theoretical hierarchy of adaptive ego mechanisms. Archives
of General Psychiatry.
Vaillant, G. E. (1986). Empirical studies of ego mechanisms of defense. (G. E.
Vaillant, Ed.). Washington D.C: American Psychiatric Press.
Vaillant, G. E. (1994). Ego Mechanisms of Defense and Personality
Psychopathology. Journal of Abnormal Psychology.
Vannucci, A., Flannery, K. M., & Ohannessian, C. M. (2017). Social media use and
anxiety in emerging adults. Journal of affective disorders, 207, 163166.
Vogel, E. A., Rose, J. P., Roberts, L. R., & Eckles, K. (2014). Social comparison,
social media, and self-esteem. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 3(4),
Walgenbach, P., & Meyer, R. (2008). Neoinstitutionalistische organisationstheorie.
W. Kohlhammer Verlag.
Weisel, O., & Böhm, R. (2015). “Ingroup love” and “outgroup hate” in intergroup
conflict between natural groups. Journal of experimental social psychology,
60, 110120.
White, M. (2011). Atrocities: The 100 deadliest episodes in human history. WW
Norton & Company.
Winnicott, D.W. (1951). Transitional objects and transitional phenomenaa study
of the first not-me possession. In Collected Papers. Through Paediatrics to
Psycho-Analysis (pp. 229242).
Winnicott, Donald W. (1960). The Theory of the Parent-Infant Relationship.
International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 41, 585595.
Witte, E. (1973). Organisation für Innovationsentscheidungen: Das Promotoren-
Modell. Schwartz.
Witte, E. (1999). Das Promotoren-Modell. In Promotoren (pp. 941). Springer.
Wood, J. V. (1996). What is social comparison and how should we study it?
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 22(5), 520537.
Wrangham, R. W., & Glowacki, L. (2012). Intergroup aggression in chimpanzees
and war in nomadic hunter-gatherers. Human Nature, 23(1), 529.
Wu, J., & Srite, M. (2021). Envy on social media: The good, the bad and the ugly.
International Journal of Information Management, 56, 102255.
Young, M. D. (2008). The rise of the meritocracy. New Brunswick, London:
Transaction Publishers.
Yuval-Davis, N. (2012). Dialogical epistemologyAn intersectional resistance to
the “oppression olympics.” Gender & society, 26(1), 4654.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Full-text available
Significance We explore the key differences between the main social media platforms and how they are likely to influence information spreading and the formation of echo chambers. To assess the different dynamics, we perform a comparative analysis on more than 100 million pieces of content concerning controversial topics (e.g., gun control, vaccination, abortion) from Gab, Facebook, Reddit, and Twitter. The analysis focuses on two main dimensions: 1) homophily in the interaction networks and 2) bias in the information diffusion toward like-minded peers. Our results show that the aggregation in homophilic clusters of users dominates online dynamics. However, a direct comparison of news consumption on Facebook and Reddit shows higher segregation on Facebook.
Full-text available
The creation, dissemination, and consumption of disinformation and fabricated content on social media is a growing concern, especially with the ease of access to such sources, and the lack of awareness of the existence of such false information. In this article, we present an overview of the techniques explored to date for the combating of disinformation with various forms. We introduce different forms of disinformation, discuss factors related to the spread of disinformation, elaborate on the inherent challenges in detecting disinformation, and show some approaches to mitigating disinformation via education, research, and collaboration. Looking ahead, we present some promising future research directions on disinformation. This article is categorized under: • Algorithmic Development > Multimedia • Commercial, Legal, and Ethical Issues > Social Considerations • Application Areas > Education and Learning
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Examination and assessment practices in higher education are traditionally hierarchical, assigning clear vertical roles to teacher and student. This article describes a didactic intervention in the grading of university students, called the “49 points offer”‟, that allows students to participate in the determination of their own grades. By giving students some control over the assessment of their academic performance, the intervention empowers them to take responsibility for a decision usually belonging to the instructor alone. More generally, it disrupts the traditional authority structure of the classroom, reducing the formal power of the lecturer by redistributing some of his or her authority to students. This article describes the didactic intervention and briefly discusses its implications for classroom instruction and learning.
Full-text available
In recent years, there has been widespread concern that misinformation on social media is damaging societies and democratic institutions. In response, social media platforms have announced actions to limit the spread of false content. We measure trends in the diffusion of content from 569 fake news websites and 9540 fake news stories on Facebook and Twitter between January 2015 and July 2018. User interactions with false content rose steadily on both Facebook and Twitter through the end of 2016. Since then, however, interactions with false content have fallen sharply on Facebook while continuing to rise on Twitter, with the ratio of Facebook engagements to Twitter shares decreasing by 60%. In comparison, interactions with other news, business, or culture sites have followed similar trends on both platforms. Our results suggest that the relative magnitude of the misinformation problem on Facebook has declined since its peak.
Observing the positive aspects of others’ lives on social media (SM) can bring about envy among users. Drawing from social comparison and technology acceptance theories, this study develops a research model to explain how envy occurs and impacts SM users’ behavior. In this work, we conducted two studies across three different SM settings to investigate two types of envy, benign and malicious envy. The results show that malicious envy is negatively related to the dependent variable of SM use intention while benign envy facilitates it. The findings provide many valuable contributions to both information systems (IS) academia and industry. This study identifies the unique SM factors intertwining with envy. Moreover, this work helps SM users and practitioners be aware of the potential envy issue on SM so they can take effective actions to enhance SM use.
The constant development of online social media features and related services has constantly attracted and increased the number of social media users. But, at the same time, a myriad of users have deviated themselves, temporarily or permanently, from social media use due to social media fatigue. Scholars have investigated different antecedents and consequences of social media fatigue. However, empirical relationships between psychosocial wellbeing and social media fatigue are currently not known. To bridge this gap, the current study utilises the stressor-strain-outcome framework (SSO) to examine whether psychosocial wellbeing measures, such as compulsive media use and fear of missing out, trigger fatigue and, furthermore, whether social media fatigue results in anxiety and depression. The study utilised repeated cross-sectional methodology whereby two waves of data (N = 1554, 1144) were collected to test the research model with adolescent social media users in India. The study findings suggest that compulsive media use significantly triggered social media fatigue, which later result in elevated anxiety and depression. Fear of missing out indirectly predicted social media fatigue through mediation of compulsive social media use. The theoretical and practical implications, limitations of the present study and agenda for future studies are presented and discussed.