Confidence and Egalitarianism

When confidence is low in a shallow hierarchy, members enter into turf wars because no one is willing to compromise. Compromise means giving up some power to try someone else’s idea first.

The reason higher confidence is more likely in a steep hierarchy is because the higher-status members (leaders) gain a degree of credit for listening to their follower colleagues. In a shallow hierarchy, the person who compromises is often seen as weak, rather than wise.

While not all collaborative groups will benefit from innovation, it rarely hurts to consider everyone’s opinions. In fact, the success of capitalism is built on distributed quality control that is imposed by customers. A bad product or service will stop becoming available not because managers didn’t like it, but because customers stopped buying it.