Is power inherently bad? Why do social class disparities emerge in organizations, and how can those organizations mitigate inequality — do they try to change hearts and minds or focus internal structure?

In The Stakeholder Podcast, Professor Ed Freeman connects with business leaders, policymakers and scholars across academic areas to examine ethics, leadership, finance and the state of the world. On a recent episode, he spoke with Professor Peter Belmi, an expert in power, status, and the social-psychological forces that contribute to the reproduction of hierarchies and inequality.

Belmi’s work investigates beyond the -isms that can serve as barriers to equality. For example, his research has shown that cutthroat environments of self-promotion discourage people from lower-class backgrounds from competing for power in the first place; it’s not worth it for personal gain. But if they instead consider how their influence could benefit their communities and the people they care about, they’re more likely to pursue positions of leadership.

Here the Darden professors discuss why we should enforce civility as a norm in organizations, the discipline of listening, the dangers of social media, equal-opportunity jerks and “the Spiderman rule.”