The social group is a part of social organization. Processes of integration and differentiation always continue actively as a result of which large groups are constantly being disintegrated or divided into smaller ones while the smaller ones are intergrated into big groups. These are the processes of social organization. Social organization is not the result of the interaction of these two forces with in social groups. Therefore, social organization is based upon social groups.

Characteristics of social organization

Main characteristics of social organization are follows:

1. The existence of unanimity among the members of the society is a feature of social organization. In its absence, conflict will arise between them and social disorganization will set in. Take an example, in ancient India, the difference between the status of the Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and the Shudras was very great.


The activities of these groups also differed and the ones undertaken by the Shudras were worse than those of the other castes. But this system was unanimously accepted by all and sundry, and hence the social organization removed impregnable. Later on when the Brahims abused their privileged position to the deteriorated further, the unanimity of opinion in favour of this system was destroyed and this resulted in the introduction of a note of choose and disorder into Hindu community.

2. Unanimity among members of a society can be maintained only so long as people are prompt and ready to accept their status and respective roles within •he social organization. In society, it is not possible to apportion roles to all individuals in such a way that everyone gets same and equal work. Just as even, load and part has its own position and function in a machines, so are the functions of people in society divided.

A body can function only as long as all its various organs perform their respective functions much the same can be said of society. In society one comes across differences in the society status of different individuals who differ in respect of their sex, age, status, physical capability skill and roles. The roles of individuals are determined on the basis of this social status. The promptness of people in accepting their own status and role is a feature of social organization.

3. The members of society will be prompt in accepting their status and role only when society has control over them. Society exercises this control through the media of habits, customs, traditions, mores, rituals and institutions. It is this which creates unanimity in society. Social disorganization starts the moment this control of society is lifted from upon the members.


Status and role

The concepts of role and status occupy a central place in the analysis of social structure. The interaction between individuals and groups very depends upon the proper functioning according to roles and status.

The concepts of role and status were initially used by common men and women everywhere long before the anthropo logists and sociologists started any discussion upon. them. It is so since every society may classify its population according to kinship, profession, sex, job, functions and other types. Each society must have some f0nil of division of labour and the most rudimentary form of division of lab0Ur includes a classification according t0 status and role.

The concept of status


Some of the important definitions of status are as follows:

“Status is a position in a social system.” Social status may be difined as a ranked position in a social hierarchy or stratification system.

An individual social standing in society.

“A difined position in the social structure that is distinguished from and at the same time related to other positions.


Each status in linked to a social role, that is a pattern of behaviour expected of one who occupies a status.”

__Donald Hobbs and S.J. Blabk.

“The term status, like the term culture, has come to be used with a double significance. A status, in the abstarct, is a position in a particular pattern. A status, as distinct from the individual who may occupy it, is simply a collection of rights and duties.”

Thus status and role are independent. Each status consists of many related roles. “The set of roles associated with a single status is called role set.” There is no complete agreement throughout a society about expectations of each status. Recognition of the position of an individual in the social system and the authority he holds in congruence is the basis of status system. It is historical since in all ages men inherited or acquired status and it is historical sinces in all ages men inherited or acquired status and it is universal because status inheritance and acquisition is recognized commonly in all societies. At first our constitution recognized the conferment of status symbol honours, later it was aboloshed and now it stand restored.


Last infirmity of the noble mind a wise man said, is fame and it is recognition. Human weakness for recognition and rewarded is eternal. It works as incentive, It sweetens the memory of hard days gone by. Status is position that one holds in a given system according to Hundberg, it is the “comparative amount of prestive, deference of respect accorded to persons who have been assigned different who have been assigned different roles in a group or community.”

It is a position in a social group or grouping in relation to other positons held by other individuals in the same group or grouping. Status determines the extent of authority which may be wielded by the holders of the status, or the degree of submission required on the part of those who are at a status lower than him. The authority one wields is socially defined and limited, as is the degree of submission required.

The essences of status are defined superior-inferior relationship, in other words dominance and subordination but always within the rule. Status involves sort of special social privileges. An increase in the individual’s socials status entitles him to more respect than before. Word ‘status’, however, is to be used with care. It one holds a family status, it does not mean that he will be so recognized in his profession. A doctor of status, may be a bad husband and worSe father.

Ascribed Status:


Status is either ascribed or achieved. Status is ascribed at birth, An infant gets a family status which includes family name and prestige share in the social standing and the right of heritage. In a family a female child may get a special status, if for long it had not a female child.

Unuversally, sexual status is inherited. But the degree of status inherited varies from one society to another, and at widely different points of time, within each society. Status of women in our society has under gone many changes both in the upwards and downwards order. Yet, as everywhere, because of her bodily specialization for reproduction, she performs the kind of tasks that accord with her child-bearing function, housekeeping etc. Men in contrast, for just the opposite reasons work outdoors.

According to Green, every society recognizes general age statues-infancy, childhood, adolescence, maturity and old age. Except for infancy, age status is anticipated by inheritance. Rights and duties shift as individual moves from one age status to another.


Performance of a conspicuous part of a task is the role. It is the manner in which a position is supposed to be filled. It is the group’s expectation of conduct by the satus holder. A status “sets the limit of dominance and subordination, the role attaching to that status is the group’s ideal of how dominance should he wielded and subordination performed.”

Ascribed and Achieved Roles

A role may be ascribed or achieved. A role is said to be ‘ascribed’ if its occupants acquire it automatically or as the result of objective characteristics or relations to other which are beyond their control. Like status the ascribed role may come to the performer by virtue of birth in particular family sex and age. In other words, one in fulfilling the expected role has to meet the high expectations of the group. Roles are also classified as the instrumental and the expressive, the instrumental role refers to the performance of tasks and the expressive role to the manifestation of sentiment.

Generally speaking the roles of man are organized more largely than those of women around instrumental role and the roles of women more largely around ‘ expressive roles.

Role conflicts and their resolution:

Conflict of role arises, when one has to perform number of roles or the roles of several actors are ill-defined or when one feels that the role assigned to one as not in agrreement with his status. It is inevitable in complex and heterogeneous society the possibility of conflict of role in a simple society, is less, but it exists, all the same. A woman as a wife, as a mother of the married son and mother- in-law, as mother of her married daughter and of unmarried daughter performs a complex role. It has often given rise to conflict of roles, causing mental turmoil and social maladjustment. Of course, the growing social complexties have intensified the conflict of roles.

A busy lawyer, may fail in his ascribed r°les. A conscientious minister for industries, when called upon to decide the claims of applicant such as 0ne supported by the -capitalist, who partly financed his elections and another who comes through common channel f0r issuing an industrial license may face such a situation. It does not imply that the role conflict the common and that the multiplicity of roles cannot be performed.

It it were so the social system will breakdown. There are obviously the ways to eliminate the conflict of roles. A simple device is to relinquish one of two conflicting roles.

A judge who finds that he has been assigned a case in which he has some stake is expected to withdraw himself from it. A minister who finds that the government policy is not in agreement with the declared policy, of the party, has always the option to resign. Another option is to rationalize and compartmentalize the roles. This may be done in terms of value and time. One may fix Priority and time for the performance of the task, one has to seek .equilibrium in the conflict of roles.

Role Reversal and Role Change:

Apart from the conflict of roles, there exists the role reversal. In a nuclear family, the father is called upon to take decision which he had no occasion to take in a faint family. So also the role of woman in nuclear family is significantly different and changed. Role reversals in several directions have not been attended to, though they are of great interest.

Detribalization and Sanskritization always effected role reversal of those who joined the structured society. Those who did not, were not completely excluded for there is in the caste system the acceptance of opposite without social or philosophical conflict. role reversal has considerably helped effecting social fusion.

The increasing urbanization the expending modern conditions of life have effected role reversal of the tribles in significant way.