Humans are a fundamentally social species, having evolved in groups with status hierarchies. However, research on the dimensions of individual ability has largely overlooked the domain of status. Building upon research on the individual-level benefits of accurate status perceptions, we propose that there exists an individual dispositional ability to perceive groups’ informal status hierarchies, which we call status acuity, and which has important implications for group dynamics. We find support for the existence and importance of status acuity across several studies. In Studies 1a and 1b, we develop and validate a measure of status acuity, find that it is distinct from previously studied individual abilities including emotional intelligence, cognitive intelligence, and accurate learning of social networks, and find that it predicts important individual outcomes at work. In Studies 2 and 3, we examine the effects of status acuity in face-to-face groups. As predicted, groups whose members have higher status acuity experience less status conflict, which benefits performance on creative idea-generation as well as problem-solving tasks.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Psychology