Pecking order or just peck order is a hierarchical system of social organization in animals. It was first described from the behaviour of
poultryby Thorleif Schjelderup-Ebbein 1921 under the German terms "Hackordnung" or "Hackliste" and introduced into English in 1925. [Perrin, Porter G. (1955) Pecking Order 1927-54. American Speech 30(4):265-268] The original usage of "peck order" referred to expression of dominance of birds. Dominance in chicken is expressed in various behaviours including pecking which was used by Schjelderup-Ebbe as a measure of dominance . In his 1922 German-language article he noted that "defense and aggression in the hen is accomplished with the beak". [Schjelderup-Ebbe, 1975 p. 36 cited in Rajecki, D. W. 1988] This emphasis on pecking led most subsequent studies on fowl behaviour to use it as a primary observation. However, it was also noted that roosters tended to leap and use their feet in conflicts. [Rajecki, D. W. 1988. Formation of Leap Orders in Pairs of Male Domestic Chickens. Aggressive Behavior 14(6): 425-436.] The term dominance hierarchyis more often used for this phenomenon in other animals.
It is a basic concept in
social stratificationand social hierarchythat has its counterpart in other animal speciesas well, including humans. Still, the term "pecking order" is often used synonymously as well, because the "pecking order" was the first studied example of the social hierarchy among animals.
The basic concept behind the establishment of the pecking order among, for example,
chickens, is that it is necessary to determine who is the 'top chicken,' the 'bottom chicken' and where all the rest fit in between. The establishment of the dominance hierarchy is believed to reduce the incidence of intense conflicts that incur a greater expenditure of energy. The dominance level determines which individual gets preferential access to food and mates.
Pecking order theory in finance
Donaldson observed that firms prefer first to finance investment with retained earnings, then, when they need outside funding, they prefer to issue debt instead of equity. It suggests that capital structures are determined largely by the history of needs for external finance. Pecking-order theory explains negative intra-industry correlation between profitability and debt-equity ratio, and the negative share price reaction on announcement of an equity issue (i.e. information asymmetric).
* Schjelderup-Ebbe T (1975) Contributions to the social psychology of the domestic chicken [Schleidt M. Schleidt WM, translators] . In Schein MW (ed); "Social Hierarchy and Dominance. Benchmark Papers in Animal Behavior, Volume 3." Stroudsburg, PA: Dowden, Hutchinson and Ross, pp 35-49. (Reprinted from Zeitschrift fuer Psychologie, 1922, 88:225-252.)
* Pinder, S. (Jun, 2007). "Financing Decisions". University of Melbourne Financial Management (333-641) lecture notes.
* Peirson, G., Brown, R., Easton, S. & Howard, P. (2003). "Business Finance". North Ryde, NSW, Australia: McGraw-Hill Australia. ISBN 0-07-471439-2.
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pecking order — ➔ order1 * * * pecking order UK US noun [C, usually singular] INFORMAL HR ► the level of importance of people in a social group, at work, etc: further/lower down the pecking order »Employees are lower down the pecking order in private equity than … Financial and business terms
pecking order — pecking orders N COUNT: usu sing The pecking order of a group is the way that the positions people have are arranged according to their status or power within the group. He knew his place in the pecking order... They both came from families… … English dictionary
pecking order — The pecking order is the order of importance or rank … The small dictionary of idiomes
pecking order — pecking .order n [singular] a social system within a group of people or animals in which each member knows who has a higher or lower rank than themselves ▪ Nobody wants to be at the bottom of the pecking order … Dictionary of contemporary English
pecking order — ☆ pecking order n. [calque of Ger hackordnung] 1. a hierarchy among birds, as a flock of hens, based on aggressive pecking in which the most dominant bird pecks all others, the second most dominant bird pecks all others except the most dominant,… … English World dictionary
pecking order — [n] hierarchy chain of command*, corporate ladder, due order, echelons, grouping, order, placing, position, ranking, scale; concept 727 … New thesaurus
pecking order — ► NOUN ▪ a hierarchy of status among members of a group, originally as observed among hens … English terms dictionary
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pecking order — /ˈpɛkɪŋ ɔdə / (say peking awduh) noun 1. the natural hierarchy observable in a flock of poultry or in any gregarious species of birds. 2. any order of precedence: *What clearly emerges in many surfing sessions is a social hierarchy, or a pecking… … Australian English dictionary