Behavioural profiles of Polistes dominulus foundresses were studied after changes of hierarchical rank induced by transferring wasps between trigynous associations. Females were ranked on the basis of postures adopted in dyadic encounters, while time spent by individuals on 8 behavioural items was recorded and compared. A multivariate analysis showed that behavioural profiles depended mainly on the wasps' current rank. The previously held rank had little effect on the behaviour of females concurrently having beta rank, whereas some differences were observed among alpha females depending on their previous rank. Alphas that were previously betas spent more time at the nest, but were less active there than inveterate alphas. The profile characteristics of alpha rank seem to take longer to acquire than the beta profile. It is suggested that adopting the profile characteristic of a given rank may involve first occupying the territory consisting of the nest, secondly gradually producing appropriate responses to the various stimuli emanating therefrom, and thirdly, undergoing specific physiological changes.