Chapter 5 Study Questions & Exercises

Social Roles, Interaction, and Organization

Study Questions

  1. Define ascribed and achieved status and provide an example for each.
  1. Consider your own status set. What are your ascribed statuses? What are your achieved statuses?
  1. Think of a situation at school or in your life that was interpreted differently by the various people involved. Describe the situation in terms of the Thomas theorem and the concept of the definition of the situation.
  1. Briefly describe the three different models of feminist organizations identified by Carol Mueller (1995) and provide an example for each.
  1. How has scientific management been applied to the automobile industry?
  1. Differentiate between status and role.
  1. What is a master status? What is your master status?
  1. Why might a woman who is both a mother and a student experience role conflict?
  1. Compare Aboriginal and Judeo-Christian cosmologies.
  1. Describe the principles of McDonaldization and apply them to an organization with which you are familiar.
  1. Compare and contrast McDonalization with the Japanese management style of team approach.

Exploration and Discussion Exercises

  1. Watch the movie Avatar. Explore how the two societies depicted in the movie are structured and organized. What are the cosmologies that underlie each society? Describe the social organization of each society. Explore the roles and statuses of individuals in each culture.
  1. Do your own study of a bureaucracy or organization in which you have been involved. Apply some or all of Weber’s elements of formal rationality (efficiency, quantification, predictability, and control), as George Ritzer did in his study of fast-food restaurants. What conclusions can you draw about the effects of this organization on individuals?