Date of Award

Spring 2006

Document Type


Degree Name

Associate of Arts


Rhetoric & Comm Studies


The idea of social rank-ordering (indicative of status. dominance. or potential leadership capacity) was first extensively researched by Robert F. Bales in the early I 950's. Bales shaped group communication around the principle that groups inevitably evolve into unequal power structures and develop a hierarchy of participation and status (Bales et. al, 1951 ). This hierarchy is evident in many different areas of life, such as social interactions, socio-economic status, and task-related rank, and the idea of dominance is established early on in life. From 1961, when Gellert observed dyads of 4- to 6- year-old children and found that a stable pattern of dominance and submission was established, to 2005 when Jose Munez's research asserted that social hierarchies exist even in preschoolers' playgroups, research has consistently identified a natural human tendency toward the hierarchisation beginning in our social interactions.