Hierarchical Inconsistencies: A Critical Assessment of Justification

Juozas Kasputis


The existential insecurity of human beings has induced them to create protective spheres of symbols: myths, religions, values, belief systems, theories, etc. Rationality is one of the key factors contributing to the construction of civilisation in technical and symbolic terms. As Hankiss (2001) has emphasised, protective spheres of symbols may collapse – thus causing a profound social crisis. Social and political transformations had a tremendous impact at the end of the 20th century. As a result, management theories have been revised in order to deal with transition and uncertainty. Francis Fukuyama’s (2000) approach is supportive of hierarchical organisation as the best solution when facing a ‘disruption’. The notion of Homo Hierarchicus has been based on, allegedly, rational presumptions. This paper contributes to the discussion on hierarchy within contemporary organisations. It criticises so-called ‘natural’ and ‘rational’ necessities justifying hierarchy. A key issue identified by the paper is the formalisation of language in claiming value-free knowledge and ‘detached’ observation as the basis for neutral rationality and aspired efficiency. This should be seriously reconsidered as hindering rather than aiding understanding of social complexity. All in all, Homo Hierarchicus appears to be misleading rather than helping symbolic sphere or construct.

Published on 17th December, 2019, in Economic Thought Vol 8, No 2, 2019