Social supremacy at work: Insights from the natural world

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


International Association on Workplace Bullying and Harassment

Place of Publication

Auckland, New Zealand


School of Business and Law




Omari, M., & Paull, M. (2016). Social supremacy at work: Insights from the natural world. Published in Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Workplace Bullying and Harassment, (pp. 68-72).


Social behaviour, its origins, development, and manifestation are the foundation upon which the game of life and survival are built. The biological and inherited basis for behaviour as seen in the natural world can provide valuable insights into how people behave and organise themselves at work. One or more individuals can rise above all others by displaying ‘social supremacy’. Conflict, competition, the fight for dominance, leadership and survival, are as apparent in the natural world as in modern organisations where colleagues jostle for power, position and place. Even within socially cohesive societies, structure, hierarchy and cooperation are required to ensure effective functioning of the group. The end result could be the continuation of the business for humans, or the survival of individuals or groups within animal communities. This paper focuses on the ‘conflict–cooperation’ dimension of work and draws comparisons between social supremacy at work and the natural world.

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