There are plenty of entered into voluntarily work situations that are highly coercive and squarely in the dominance hierarchy. In fact, a lot of people have work environments like that which they got into of their own free will and could theoretically leave if they wanted to, but it’s not always that simple.

I think the Habitat example is one of the best ones. You said there was a head honcho and she probably checked in on the different groups who may have had different skill levels to make sure things were up to par, and kept the workflow moving, but for the most part, everyone was doing their thing, working together for a common good, and not to aggrandize themselves or make other people feel inferior. People who were looked up to on the job were the ones with the knowledge, skill, work ethic, etc., and not the ones who had the most expensive shoes or were from the most elite social class. I’m basing this on my own experiences with Habitat builds. I suppose yours could have been different, but I doubt it. The culture of a Habitat build is not about that kind of thing, and I doubt it would be tolerated. That’s a partnership-oriented (hierarchy of actualization) kind of environment.

Could that translate to absolutely everything else in America? Probably not, because we are too individualistic and competition-oriented and too steeped in a culture where you almost never have peers. Instead, you evaluate everyone you interact with to see if you rank higher or lower than them in the dominance pyramid and then kowtow or bully accordingly. That’s an oversimplification, but only a small one.

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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