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Prevailing theories of status tend to assume that status hierarchies are visible to all. Challenging this and extending prior research that has examined the accuracy of individuals’ perceptions of their own social standing in a group, I explore individuals’ perceptions of their group’s entire status hierarchies—that is, the relative status position that they believe each member of their workgroup occupies. I consider the implications of this individual perceptual ability of status hierarchies for the social networks that individuals form, as well as for the performance of individuals and groups.

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Yu, S., Kilduff, G. J., & West, T. (2023). Status acuity: The ability to accurately perceive status hierarchies reduces status conflict and benefits group performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 108(1), 114–137. 

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Status Acuity

New research (Yu et al., 2023) introduces the concept of status acuity, defined as individuals' ability to accurately perceive the status hierarchies of interactive groups. Across studies, we develop and validate a video-based measure of status acuity, find that status acuity 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 (e.g., performance, social acceptance, reduced conflict experience). In face-to-face groups, groups whose members have higher status acuity experience less status conflict, which benefits performance on creative idea generation as well as problem-solving group tasks. Status acuity offers a new answer to the question: “How well does this person work in groups?”

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