What is Role | Definitions; Concepts and Types

A role is the expected behavior associated with a specific social status. Role has an aspect of 
action which is nothing but a cluster of inter –related structures around specific rights and duties and duties and associated with a particular status position within a group of social situations. 
A persons’ role in any situation is defined by the set of expectations for his behavior held 
by others and by the persons himself. 
What is Role | Definitions; Concepts and Types
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  • Role is the social action or behavior of the individual in a particular status
  • Role is a manner in which the position of a status is supposed to be filled.
  • Role is the way of behavior or a social action which fits to a given status.
  • All social activities and action are organized around role.
  • Role is the set of privileges and expectation both of one’s own behavior and the 
  • behavior of others.

Definition of Role

Davis, Kingsley: “Role is the manner in which a person actually carried out the requirements 
of his position”

Ogburn and Nimkoff : “Role is a set of socially expected and approved behavior patterns 
consisting of both duties and privileges, associated with a particular position in a group”.

Elliot and Merrill:”Role is the parte he plays as a result of each status.”

Fitcher,J.H. : “ When a number of inter-related behavior patterns are clustered around a 
social functions , we call this combination a social role.”
Different concept related to role

Role Conflict

Role conflict occurs when people face conflicting sets of Expectations Playing roles is not always easy for us. Role bring problems. They are meant to make interaction easier by helping us know what to do. But in the real world we often  don't know what to do because if we act according to one set of expectations we fail to meet another set that is important to us. We are faced with role conflict. There are several kinds of 
role conflict.

One Person Has Contradictory Expectations of Another (Intrasender Conflict): 
Sometimes a person (or persons) expects us to do contradictory things in our role. ("My 
parents say they expect me to be independent, but they treat me like a child.") Katz and 
Kahn (1966) call this kind of role conflict instrasender conflict..

E.g students expect instructors to be personal, to show interest in them, to treat them as individuals, yet instructors must also grade everyone impersonally—otherwise they are charged with having "favorites. 

Role conflict is a tension that occurs when a person is facing multiple roles having multiple statuses. It means that it occurs between two or more than two roles. 

For example RANA as a son visit his mother in hospital, he also wishes to go at his close-friend's marriage ceremony, same time he also confuses to join his lecture in B.Z University Multan or to go office for emergency task. 

While role strain is a tension that occurs when a person is facing a single role having multiple statuses. It means that it occurs within a single role. 

For example A domestic mother is preparing breakfast for her kids and same time she wishes to press school uniform. This situation leads her toward role strain. 

Role set

A role set is anyone you have a recurring relationship with in your role. According to Goffman the "role set" is the various kinds of relevant audiences for a particular role. 

Merton describes "role set" as the "complement of social relationships in which 
persons are involved because they occupy a particular social status." For instance, the role 
of a doctor has a role set comprising colleagues, nurses, patients, hospital administrators, 

Role Strain

Role strain occurs when a person has difficulty meeting the responsibilities of a particular role 
in his or her life. If you're reading this right now at a time when you are having trouble keeping 
up with the expectations on you as a student, learning all you need to learn, keeping on top of 
the work involved, this means you are experiencing strain on your role as a student.

A role is the term used by sociologists, and often in society in general, to describe a set of 
expected behaviours and obligations a person has based on their particular place in the world. 
We all have multiple roles and responsibilities in our lives.

Examples of Role Strain
Imagine you are an actor on a stage and everyone is watching as you play out your lines and 
follow the stage directions for your part. Sociologist Erving Goffman suggested that there is a 
parallel between the way an actor plays on a stage and how we play our part in the world based 
on the roles we have. We present ourselves in different ways to different people. These patterns 
of actions and behaviours are known as role performance.

Role exit (Social role exit)

When an individual stops engaging in a role previously central to their identity and the process 
of establishing a new identity.

Example: When an individual retires from a long career and must transition from the role of 
worker with deadlines and responsibilities to a leisurely life or when an individual becomes a 
parent and has to change their lifestyle.

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