Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Sociology and Rural Studies

First Advisor

Robert Mendelsohn


This study focuses on differential role-taking ability between physicians and nurses. Many sociologists note, subordinates are in positions of lower structural power than superordinates and therefore must employ other means of control. These other strategies of control come from a person’s own interpersonal skills. This source of power is referred to as personal influence and is considered by Franks, Thomas et. al. Wrong, to be more situated in nature than structural power which is viewed as having a more enduring quality. Most persons, regardless of the power of the position they a given social context, must interact and role-take with others. Persons lacking in social power are forced to employ other strategies in an effort to balance this disparity in power distribution. In emphasizing the degree of power given to a person exclusively through his or her structural position, it should be noted when family member's perception of each other's personal influence was included in the analysis, the relationship between structural position and role-taking did not change. Results of the Thomas, Franks, and Calonico study showed an inverse relationship between power and role-taking ability within the family. This study replicates the Calonico, et. al. work using different units of analysis. This study goes beyond looking at the concept of role-taking itself and examines the relationship between power and role-taking. It is important to study the effect power has on role-taking ability because institutions and society at large are made positions with varying degrees of power. Knowledge about the extent to which differential power is related to degrees of role-taking ability, may yield insights about human interaction, the development of self, and individual, as well as social, control mechanism. On a practical level; one can gain insights into the processes by which subordinates manage the role demands placed on them by superordinate.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Nurse and physician
Medical personnel and patient
Physician and patient
Role playing



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


No Copyright - United State