For some standard objects they automatically include the "Grant access using hierarchies." Why is this the default?

The objects include:

  • Lead
  • Account
  • Contract and Asset
  • Contact
  • Opportunity
  • Case
  • Campaign
  • Activity
  • Calendar
  • Price Book

Probably because it's the most common setup for a sales organization. All of those objects relate to sales and/or business and sales managers need to know how their teams are doing. Similarly, district and regional managers need to be able to see an even bigger picture while the CEO (or other C-level executive) will need or want to see everything in their organization.

This allows managers visibility into the company at all levels. The store manager can see how each employee is doing, the district manager can see how stores as a whole are doing, and so on, allowing the executives to see how the company is doing as a whole but yet drill-down to regional or district performance, as needed.

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