Difference Between Role and Function

Main Difference

The main difference between role and function is that role is a part played by someone in a specific circumstance, whereas function is the natural purpose of something or the duty of someone.

Role vs. Function

The role is a part played by someone in a specific circumstance, whereas function is the natural purpose of something or the duty of someone. An individual can perform different roles in different frameworks, and every role involves a different set of functions and responsibilities while in function, each role has different functions related to it. The role is a situation that one gets by its virtue; on the other hand, the function is the act that a role demands. A teacher plays the role of mediator, organizer, facilitator, confidant, etc.; on the contrary, a teacher’s functions include teaching the students, assessing the student’s knowledge, and organizing the lessons, etc.

Comparison Chart

RoleFunction
The role is a part played by someone in a specific circumstance.The function is the natural purpose of something or the duty of someone.
Meaning
A part played by someone in a specific conditionNatural purpose of something or the duty of someone.
Interrelation
An individual can perform different roles in different frameworksEach role has different functions related to it
Purpose
A situation that one gets by its virtueThe act that a role demands
Examples
A teacher plays the role of mediator, organizer, facilitator, confidant, etc.A teacher’s functions include teaching the students, assessing the student’s knowledge, and organizing the lessons, etc.

What is Role?

The role is simply a part played by someone in a specific circumstance. Every individual in this whole world plays different roles in their lives. At home, the role of a parent, child or sibling is played. At work, the role of an employee is played by some individuals. Nevertheless, different roles are associated with different functions, responsibilities, and duties. Such as the role of a mother comprises responsibility of protecting her child from any harm whereas the role of a child comprises the duty of respecting his parents. In a professional environment, the role can also discuss the professional position of a person or the part played by a person. For instance, the role of a teacher may include as a disciplinarian, mediator of learning, organizer of the lessons, confidant to students, etc. The functions and duties of occupation are also associated with this specific word ‘role’ i.e., what the person does in his professional ability in that position of his. Such as a doctor’s role involve identifying the different medical condition and treating patients.

Factors Influencing Role Development

  • Societal Influence: The arrangement of society often forms individuals into their certain roles built on the social situations they choose to experience. Parents registering their children in certain programs at a young age increases the chance that the child will follow that certain role.
  • Genetic Predisposition: People adopt roles that come naturally to them. Those with athletic ability normally accept roles of athletes. Those with mental genius and great knowledge often handle roles devoted to education and knowledge. This discussion does not mean that people must select only one path; each individual can experience reappearance in multiple roles.
  • Cultural Influence: Different cultures place different morals on certain roles founded on their lifestyle. For example, soccer players are regarded higher in European countries where soccer is very popular than in the United States, where soccer is less popular.
  • Situational Influence: Roles can be transformed or created based on the situation a person is put in outside their influence.

Examples

  • A teacher plays the role of a mediator, organizer, facilitator, confidant, etc.
  • The role of a police officer is to ensure that the law is obeyed.
  • What’s Jack’s role in this drama?

What is a Function?

The function is the natural purpose of something or the duty of someone. It also means the purpose or action for which a thing or a person is employed or suited. The oxford dictionary defines the function as “practical purpose or use in design.” In simple terms, the function mentions the natural purpose of something or the duty of a person — for instance, the function of veins in the body to carry blood from the body towards the heart. Also, the function of a security guard is to make sure the security of a place. People who play various roles in society has various functions according to it. The same applies to organizations and companies. For instance, the function of a sales assistant is not the same as the function of the assistant manager of that company. Functions in this framework talk about the duties held by a certain position. The word role is frequently used synonymously with function.

Examples

  • A teacher’s functions include teaching the students, assessing the student’s knowledge, and organizing the lessons, etc.
  • Within the company, no one knows what his function is.
  • Jackson performs several important functions within the company.
  • His chief function is to provide legal advice to the company.

Key Differences

  1. The role is a part played by someone in a specific circumstance, whereas function is the natural purpose of something or the duty of someone.
  2. An individual can perform different roles in different frameworks, and every role involves a different set of functions and responsibilities while in function, each role has different functions related to it.
  3. The role is a situation that one gets by its virtue; on the other hand, the function is the act that a role demands.
  4. A teacher plays the role of mediator, organizer, facilitator, confidant, etc.; on the contrary, a teacher’s functions include teaching the students, assessing the student’s knowledge, and organizing the lessons, etc.

Conclusion

Above discussion concludes that role is a part played by someone in a specific circumstance, whereas function is the natural purpose of something or the duty of someone.

Author:

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson

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