Structural-functionalist perspective

I agree with the essay’s discussion on the various ramifications of the structural-functionalist perspective. The general idea it tried to convey was that social inequality with respect to economic status of individuals is inevitable in a highly stratified and modernized society like ours. The society may be analogized with the human body wherein each position or occupation corresponds to a specific body organ that serves a crucial purpose (Newman). If one unit malfunctions, the entire system will disintegrate. However, not all functionalities can be fulfilled by just about anyone.

Some specialized roles require competencies that are possessed by only a limited number of people. This circumstance makes the competent people a valuable “human resource” in their own right. To illustrate this point, take the case of a prosperous company which owes a lot to its top rank managers and officials such that these people have become indispensable to the company. High level employees are given greater compensation to dissuade them from transferring to another company.

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Their resignation is even considered a loss for the company.

In contrast, rank and file employees who perform menial work can be easily replaced because they neither possess the key capabilities nor hold managerial and leadership responsibilities essential for the continuous operation of the business. Similarly, professions that require mental work and higher level of educational attainment receive greater compensation and higher prestige than occupations which capitalize on physical work. This is because the expertise of a lawyer or a doctor is acquired only through long hours of dedicated study and considerable amount of funding.

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On the other hand, jobs that require muscular effort can take as short as one month to master. Nevertheless, this fact is not to downplay the role of those in lower socio-economic classes. In fact, even the highest paid CEO will have a difficulty if he did not have underlings who does the legwork for him and execute all his strategies. The entire population should work hand in hand with each other regardless of the number of digits in his/her paycheck, lest we have a reign of anomie in our society.


  1. Newman, D. M. Sociology: Exploring the Architecture of Everyday Life. Thousand Oaks: Pine Forge Press, 2009.
Updated: May 19, 2021
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Structural-functionalist perspective. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

Structural-functionalist perspective essay
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