Contents 1 General concept 1.1 Cultural roles 1.2 Social differentiation 1.3 Situation-specific roles 2 Role conflict, strain or making 3 See also 4 References 5 Bibliography 6 External links

General concept[edit] Substantial debate exists in the field over the meaning of the "role" in role theory. A role can be defined as a social position, behavior associated with a social position, or a typical behavior. Some theorists have put forward the idea that roles are essentially expectations about how an individual ought to behave in a given situation, while others consider it means how individuals actually behave in a given social position. Others have suggested that a role is a characteristic behavior or expected behavior, a part to be played, or a script for social conduct. In sociology there are different categories of social roles: cultural roles: roles given by culture (e.g. priest) social differentiation: e.g. teacher, taxi driver situation-specific roles: e.g. eye witness bio-sociological roles: e.g. as human in a natural system gender roles: as a man, woman, mother, father, etc. In their life people have to face different social roles, sometimes they have to face different roles at the same time in different social situations. There is an evolution of social roles: some disappear and some new develop. Role behaviour is influenced by following aspects: The norms, determining a social situation. Internal and external expectations are connected to a social role. Social sanctions (punishment and reward) are used to influence role behaviour. These three aspects are used to evaluate one's own behaviour as well as the behaviour of other people. Heinrich Popitz defines social roles as norms of behaviour that a special social group has to follow. Norms of behaviour are a set of behaviours that have become typical among group members; in case of deviance, negative sanctions follow. Cultural roles[edit] Cultural roles are seen as matter of course and are mostly stable. In cultural changes new roles can develop and old roles can disappear – these cultural changes are affected by political and social conflicts. For example, the feminist movement initiated a change in male and female roles in Western societies. Social differentiation[edit] Main article: Differentiation (sociology) Social differentiation got a lot of attention due to the development of different job roles. Robert K. Merton distinguished between intrapersonal and interpersonal role conflicts. For example, a foreman has to develop his own social role facing the expectations of his team members and his supervisor – this is an interpersonal role conflict. He also has to arrange his different social roles as father, husband, club member – this is an intrapersonal role conflict. Ralph Dahrendorf distinguished between must-expectations, with sanctions; shall-expectations, with sanctions and rewards and can-expectations, with rewards. The foreman has to avoid corruption; he should satisfy his reference groups (e.g. team members and supervisors); and he can be sympathetic. He argues another component of role theory is that people accept their own roles in the society and it is not the society that imposes them. Situation-specific roles[edit] Situation-specific roles develop ad hoc in a given social situation. Nevertheless, the expectations and norms are predetermined by the social role. The central weakness of role theory is in describing and explaining deviant behavior.

Role conflict, strain or making[edit] Despite variations in the terms used, the central component of all of the formulations is incompatibility. Role conflict is a conflict among the roles corresponding to two or more statuses, for example, teenagers who have to deal with pregnancy (statuses: teenager, mother). Role conflict is said to exist when there are important differences among the ratings given for various expectations. By comparing the extent of agreement or disagreement among the ranks, a measure of role conflict was obtained.[2] Role strain or "role pressure" may arise when there is a conflict in the demands of roles, when an individual does not agree with the assessment of others concerning his or her performance in his or her role, or from accepting roles that are beyond an individual's capacity. Role making is defined by Graen as Leader-member exchange. At the same time, a person may have limited power to negotiate away from accepting roles that cause strain, because he or she is constrained by societal norms, or has limited social status from which to bargain.

See also[edit] Transactional analysis Behaviorism Dramaturgical perspective Hedonism Conformity Generalized other Game studies

References[edit] ^ Hindin, Micelle J. (2007) "role theory" in George Ritzer (ed.) The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology, Blackwell Publishing, 2007, 3959-3962 ^ Gerald, Grace. Role Conflict and the Teacher. Routledge. p. 3. ISBN 0415689481. 

Bibliography[edit] Mead, George H. (1934). Mind, Self, and Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.  Parsons, Talcott (1951). The Social System.  Robert K. Merton, Social Theory and Social Structure, 1949 Ralf Dahrendorf, Homo sociologicus, 1958 (in German, many editions) Rose Laub Coser, “The Complexity of Roles as a Seedbed of Individual Autonomy”, in: The Idea of Social Structure: Papers in Honor of Robert K. Merton, 1975 Ralph Linton, The Study of Man, Chapter 8, "Status and Role", 1936

External links[edit] Social Problems, an industrial strength example of role theory. Retrieved from "" Categories: Role theory

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SociologySocial PsychologyRoleGeorge Herbert MeadJacob L. MorenoTalcott ParsonsRalph LintonSocial PositionRoleNorm (sociology)ActorsLegitimacy (political)ConstructiveReinforcementPunishmentSymbolic InteractionistRole ConflictSociologyHeinrich PopitzFeminist MovementDifferentiation (sociology)Robert K. MertonRole ConflictRalph DahrendorfDeviantRole ConflictLeader–member Exchange TheoryTransactional AnalysisBehaviorismDramaturgical PerspectiveHedonismConformityGeneralized OtherGame StudiesInternational Standard Book NumberSpecial:BookSources/0415689481George Herbert MeadTalcott ParsonsRobert K. MertonRalf DahrendorfRalph LintonHelp:CategoryCategory:Role TheoryDiscussion About Edits From This IP Address [n]A List Of Edits Made From This IP Address [y]View The Content Page [c]Discussion About The Content Page [t]Edit This Page [e]Visit The Main Page [z]Guides To Browsing WikipediaFeatured Content – The Best Of WikipediaFind Background Information On Current EventsLoad A Random Article [x]Guidance On How To Use And Edit WikipediaFind Out About WikipediaAbout The Project, What You Can Do, Where To Find ThingsA List Of Recent Changes In The Wiki [r]List Of All English Wikipedia Pages Containing Links To This Page [j]Recent Changes In Pages Linked From This Page [k]Upload Files [u]A List Of All Special Pages [q]Wikipedia:AboutWikipedia:General Disclaimer