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social interaction

the process by which people act and react in relation to others.


a social position that a person holds.

status set

all the statuses a person holds at a given time.

ascribed status

a social position a person receives at birth or takes on involuntary later in life.

achieved status

a social position a person takes on voluntarily that reflects personal ability and effort.

master status

a status that has special importance for social identity, often shaping a person's entire life.


behavior expected of someone who holds a particular status.

role set

a number of roles attached to a single status.

role conflict

conflict among the roles connected to two or more statuses.

role strain

tension among the roles connected to a single status.

role exit

the process by which people disengage from important social roles.

social construction of reality

the process by which people creatively shape reality through social interaction.

Thomas Theorem

situations that are defined as real are real in their consequences.


the study of the way people make sense of their everyday surroundings.

dramaturgical analysis

the study of social interaction in terms of theatrical performance.

presentation of self

a person's efforts to create specific impressions in the minds of others.

Impression Management

process that begins with the idea of personal performance.

nonverbal communication

communication using body movements, gestures, and facial expressions rather than speech.


the way we act and carry ourselves.

personal space

the surrounding area over which a person makes some claim to privacy.


discomfort after a spoiled performance... "losing face"


helping someone, "save face."

social group

two or more people who identify with and interact with one another.

primary group

a small social group whose members share personal and lasting relationships.

secondary group

a large and impersonal social group whose members pursue a specific goal or activity.

secondary relationships

involve weak emotional ties and little personal knowledge of one another.

instrumental leadership

group leadership that focuses on the completion of tasks.

expressive leadership

group leadership that focuses on the group's well-being.

authoritarian leadership

focuses on instrumental concerns, takes personal charge of decision making, and demands the group members obey orders.

democratic leadership

more expressive, making a point of including everyone in the decision-making process.


allows the group to function more or less on it's own.


the tendency of group members to conform, resulting in a narrow view of some issue.

reference groups

a social group that serves as a point of reference in making evaluations and decisions.


a social group towards which a member feels respect and loyalty


a social group towards which a person feel a sense of competition and opposition.


to designate a social group with two members (pair).


a social group with three members.


a web of weak social ties.

formal organizations

large secondary groups organized to achieve their goals efficiently.

utilitarian organizations

one that pays people for their efforts.

normative organizations

also known as voluntary associations. pursue some goal they think is morally worthwhile.

coercive organizations

involuntary membership, ex: prison.


values and beliefs passed from generation to generation.


a way of thinking that emphasizes deliberate, matter-of-fact calculation of the most efficient way to accomplish a task.

rationalization of society

the historical change from tradition to rationality as the main type of human thought.


an organizational model rationally designed to perform tasks efficiently.

organizational environment

factors outside the organization that affect its operations.

bureaucratic ritualism

to describe a focus on rules and regulations to the point of undermining an organization's goals

bureaucratic inertia

refers to the tendency of bureaucratic organizations to perpetrate themselves.


the rule of the many by the few.

scientific management

the application of scientific principles to the operation of a business or other large organization.

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