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5 Reasons Why Most People Prefer Autonomy Over Hierarchy

Hierarchy and autonomy are two sides of the same coin. But why do people want to be more autonomous today? Here are 5 reasons why most people prefer autonomy over hierarchy. Dive in.

A women enjoying the perks of autonomy.
Photo by Victor Freitas from Pexels

Before coming up with this subject, I wanted to reflect a lot on the dreams and ambitions I had since my childhood. I never realized it before, but my career options were self-oriented and limited to an individual basis.

In the early years of elementary education, I was in a dilemma concerning my career choices. The students of my age discussed the benefits of having a job in a multinational company with a decent to good payscale and a happy family.

Well, to be honest, I was never against this idea as I wanted to align my ambitions in this direction too. In fact, it’s impossible to think of anything else when we are born and raised in a conventional setting that values specific things in life.

But with all the above notions and criteria of climbing the social ladder, I couldn’t wrap my head around the things that I wanted. I thought there was something wrong with me desiring personal freedom, independence, and autonomy. Things went so bad I started blaming myself for having these expectations of myself.

“A student might undergo many experiences and be more ambitious concerning the social hierarchy. But, no matter how sure he is of himself, he has to face the truth about the things he values and respects. He must try to achieve them without disregarding the social ladder.”

So, “What should we do to make things easier for us?”

Well, here we will discuss 5 reasons why most people prefer autonomy over hierarchy. Now, over to the next section.


How hierarchy influences our society?

In the previous section, we saw how hierarchy goes hand in hand with social hierarchy. It’s not a mere coincidence that most people find success in climbing the social ladder. We are taught to value it right from the beginning.

Status, symbol, respect, and dignity have always been prized in our hierarchical society. Even among democratic nations, the relevance of the above four traits is apparent. Many nations do not support challenging the status quo at all.

In some countries, doing so is considered a threat to the citizens’ way of living. Therefore, society does influence us and our expectations.

“Hierarchy signifies the need for a structure and system to regulate social matters concerning objective solutions. We need a strong regulation for our society and its elements to function properly. Hence, society values hierarchy to a certain extent.”

The stairs representing the social ladder of hierarchy.
Photo by Henry & Co. from Pexels

So, here are 3 prime reasons how hierarchy influences our society.


1. Hierarchy establishes norms and guidelines for society:

Of course, the simplest way how hierarchy influences our society is by forming norms and guidelines to establish them in the real world. The elements of society take the necessary course of action to implement them among people.

The significance of class and status is the result of hierarchy that stresses the fact that every individual must obey the one of higher status and must be answerable to him. These norms play their role by establishing structure among people and society.

Hence, hierarchy imposes the most important thing to keep society and community intact, i.e., the hierarchy of status.


2. Hierarchy is the backbone of social construct:

There is a reason why society favors hierarchy over everything else. To establish the social construct, one has to provide objective data or facts or evidence to bring social constructs to fruition.

Hierarchy is the only way to help society understand the benefits of social construct and its implementation in the real world. In this way, the hierarchy becomes the backbone of social construct altogether.

Without hierarchy, there would be chaos, mismanagement, and loss of resources and human life. Hence, hierarchy influences social construct.


3. Hierarchy shapes the socio-political environment:

Politics and socio-political matters are quite sensitive and must be dealt with utmost maturity and experience. Considering how important it has become for people to align themselves to polar views, it can be quite tricky.

So, even with varying socio-political opinions, it is better to follow a system of cooperation and harmony. To do that, we again utilize hierarchy to determine which of the groups have a sound reason and how they justify it.

In this way, hierarchy shapes the socio-political environment and places a great deal in following the rules.

So, here are 3 prime ways how hierarchy influences our society.

Now, let’s discuss in the next section the 5 reasons why most people prefer autonomy over hierarchy.


Why do most people prefer autonomy over hierarchy?

No seriously, why are people preferring to be autonomous than following the hierarchy and status quo? What’s making them disregard social norms that have worked for so many years in favor of self-governance all of a sudden?

Well, in recent years, most people started preferring self-reliance over everything else. They want to be free, independent, and solitary compared to the previous generations. Nowadays, no one values social hierarchy as much as they used to.

This sudden change in the mindset isn’t random. However, many factors justify the reason behind people turning their backs on social stuff, and instead, engaging in personal matters.

“The revolution of personal values has a lot to do with people preferring autonomy over social hierarchy. Liberty, free will, and individuality are the core values that are, and will be, promoted in the current and future generations to come.”

A women representing the reason why most people prefer autonomy over hierarchy.
Photo by Dominika Roseclay from Pexels

So, coming to the factors or reasons behind the preference, here are 5 reasons why most people prefer autonomy over hierarchy.


1. Hierarchy doesn’t necessarily favor self-development:

I don’t personally think that self-development is at odds with the typical social status or hierarchy. In fact, the one at the top of the system is the one who has successfully utilized his full potential and has walked on the path of self-development.

However, only the best gets the privilege of self-development in a social system. Hierarchy works on the status and prioritizes the top dog. Autonomy, on the other hand, doesn’t favor anyone as it is limited to self.

Therefore, hierarchy doesn’t necessarily favor self-development for everyone, but autonomy does and has made things easier for people to achieve in life.


Also read: 5 Amazing Hacks To Regain Sight of True Potential


2. Hierarchy is a barrier to independent thinking:

Critical thinking skills and intelligence are valued a lot by the social systems and individuals respectively. Any workplace or organization demands good thinking skills and practical solutions for the systems to work efficiently.

But not everything is good with hierarchy when it comes to individual mindset or independent thinking. In other words, analysis for the sake of one’s benefit isn’t favored and turns out to be a deal-breaker in hierarchical systems. Autonomy favors independent thinking and values individual contributions due to the absence of an organization.

Autonomy gives the freedom to think independently and we do not have to concern ourselves with the approval of others.


3. Hierarchy disregards unconventional beliefs:

Unconventional beliefs have always been a threat to hierarchy, particularly due to offbeat and weird ideas that come with it. It isn’t surprising that many Asian countries despise unconventional things due to the prevalence of hierarchy and structure.

Unconventionality challenges the status quo. People are intimidated by someone who marches to the beat of his own drum. Hierarchy has never done well with unfamiliar systems. Autonomy embraces the significance of unconventional beliefs. The audacity to be one’s own person and be proud at the same time is the objective of autonomy itself.

So yeah, hierarchy disregards unconventional beliefs and doesn’t know how to react to them, while autonomy considers it the backbone of healthy individuality.


Also read: How does Unconventional Creativity Lead To Meaningful Pursuits?


4. Hierarchy doesn’t consider personal value systems:

This is actually a part of a pretty old debate concerning the matters of self and society. Personal value systems, like unconventional beliefs, work against the notions of hierarchy. While personal value systems aren’t eccentric or offbeat, they do disrupt the way hierarchy works leading to frustrations among people and society.

Autonomy allows people to be themselves. They are responsible for everything, they are the center of their work environment and relationships. It gives their value systems a good deal of priority and consideration.

Personal value systems do not help us play the social game, which makes them almost useless to hierarchical systems. However, they do have to offer a lot of autonomy.


5. Lastly, hierarchy is slow to accept change and novelty:

Change and novelty are some of the requirements of humanity’s progress. Hierarchical systems have done a pretty good job of fostering structure and predictability in society so it functions better.

But this is also one of the disadvantages of hierarchy. In fact, hierarchical systems are too concerned with predictability that bringing a change or novelty is difficult at best and impossible at worst. Autonomy doesn’t make us deal with structure with the same intensity as the hierarchy does.

Change and novelty are also easier to bring in individual matters as opposed to social matters. So, autonomy takes the cake here too.


Also read: What Are The Ways To Conquer Creative Potential?


Final Words:

To sum up, hierarchy isn’t an evil force or burden to people. It helps us to be more productive, social, and efficient at the end of the day. Nothing is better than hierarchy for humanity, let alone autonomy.

But the above 5 reasons why most people prefer autonomy over hierarchy clearly mention the things that we require in the present generation. Individual values dominate the communal ones and we favor self more in a general sense of natural selection.

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