A role (also rôle or social role) is a set of connected behaviors, rights, obligations, beliefs, and norms as conceptualized by people in a social situation. It is an expected or free or continuously changing behaviour and may have a given individual social status or social position. It is vital to both functionalist and interactionist understandings of society. Social role posits the following about social behaviour:
- The division of labour in society takes the form of the interaction among heterogeneous specialised positions, we call roles.
- Social roles included appropriate and permitted forms of behaviour, guided by social norms, which are commonly known and hence determine the expectations for appropriate behaviour in these roles.
- Roles are occupied by individuals, who are called actors.
- When individuals approve of a social role (i.e., they consider the role legitimate and constructive), they will incur costs to conform to role norms, and will also incur costs to punish those who violate role norms.
- Changed conditions can render a social role outdated or illegitimate, in which case social pressures are likely to lead to role change.
- The anticipation of rewards and punishments, as well as the satisfaction of behaving prosocially, account for why agents conform to role requirements.
- Fundamental ideas play the most essential role in forming a physical theory.
- A liberal ... is suspicious of assigning to government any functions that can be performed through the market, both because this substitutes coercion for voluntary co-operation in the area in question and because, by giving government an increased role, it threatens freedom in other areas.
- The proper role of government is exactly what John Stuart Mill said in the middle of the 19th century in On Liberty. The proper role of government is to prevent other people from harming an individual.
- If you look at the drug war from a purely economic point of view, the role of the government is to protect the drug cartel. That's literally true.
- One reason why money is a mystery to so many is the role of myth or fiction or convention.
- Milton Friedman, Money Mischief (1992), Ch. 2 The Mystery of Money
- The creative role of an intellectual requires detachment from any particular idea or interest. Since the beginning of modernity, the authority of the intellectual has rested on the claim to be acting and speaking on behalf of society as a whole.
- Since men of words usually play a crucial role in the rise of mass movements, it is obvious that the presence of an educated and articulate minority is probably indispensable for the continued vigor of a social body.
- Associated with each office is a set of activities, which are defined as potential behaviors. These activities constitute the role to be performed, at least approximately, by any person who occupies that office.
- Robert L. Kahn, Organizational stress: Studies in role conflict and ambiguity (1964), p. 13: Definition of the term role.
- The prescriptions and proscriptions held by members of a role set are designated as role expectations. ... The role expectations held for a certain person by some member of his or her role set will reflect that member's conception of the person's office and his or her abilities. The content of these expectations may include preferences with respect to specific acts and personal characteristics or styles; they may deal with what the person should do, what kind of person he should be, what he should think, or believe, and how he should relate to others.
- Robert L. Kahn, Organizational stress: Studies in role conflict and ambiguity (1964), p. 14
- Each sent pressure can be regarded as arousing in the focal person a psychological force of some magnitude and direction. Such forces will be called role forces. This is not to say that these motivational role forces are identical in magnitude and direction with the role pressures which evoked them. Especially when role pressures are seen as illegitimate or coercive, they may arouse strong resistance forces which lead to outcomes different from or even opposite to the expected behavior. Pressures to increase production rates sometimes result in slowdowns. Moreover, every person is subject to a variety of psychological forces in addition to those stimulated by pressures from his role set in the work situation. Role pressures are thus only a partial determinant of behavior on the job. In addition, to the motivational forces aroused by role pressures, there are important internal sources of motivation for role performance. One of these stems from the intrinsic satisfaction derived from the content of the role.
- Robert L. Kahn, Organizational stress: Studies in role conflict and ambiguity (1964), p. 16-17
- Innovative roles represent patterned organizational deviance.
- Robert L. Kahn, Organizational stress: Studies in role conflict and ambiguity (1964), p. 388, as cited in: Eugene E. Szymaszek (1996). Changing Role of Leadership for Vocational Education in... p. 41
- The [role of the] intellectual ... cannot be played without a sense of being someone whose place it is publicly to raise embarrassing questions, to confront orthodoxy and dogma (rather than to produce them), to be someone who cannot easily be co-opted by governments or corporations, and whose raison d'être is to represent all those people and issues that are routinely forgotten or swept under the rug.
- Prices play a crucial role in determining how much of each resource gets used where and how the resulting products get transferred to millions of people. Yet this role is seldom understood by the public and it is often disregarded entirely by politicians.
- Nothing makes us understand the many roles of electricity] in our lives like a power failure. Similarly, nothing shows more vividly the role and importance of price fluctuations in a market economy than the absence of such price fluctuations when the market is controlled.