Social structure refers to the patterned or regularized aspects of the relationships
existing among participants in an organization (Scott p. 16). It is comprised
of normative and behavioral structures, both interdependent.
"All social groups... are characterized by a normative structure applicable
to the participants and by a behavioral structure linking in a common network
or pattern of activities, interactions, and sentiments". Scott p. 17
"Not only stability and order, but tension and stress, deviance and
change, can often be attributed to structural factors" p. 17
The normative structure helps create the regularized patterns seen
in the behavioral structure. Normative structure embodies what "ought
to be", and includes values, norms, and role expectations.Changes in
behavioral structure can affect and modify the normative structure. "Behavior
shapes norms just as norms shape behavior" Scott p. 17. Sometimes the
norms and behavior are similar, sometimes different, but always exist in
The behavior structure focuses on actual behavior -- "what is".
Homans classifies behavior into activities, interactions, and sentiments
(Homans 1950). Organizational behavior focuses on the recurring patterns
of behavior. Power structure and sociometric structure are examples of behavioral
structure. (Scott p. 17).
Katz and Kahn add that "the cement that holds (social structures) together
is essential psychological than biological. Social systems are anchored
in the attitudes, perceptions, beliefs, motivations, habits, and expectations
of human beings". (p. 37)
Event-structure theory is another explanation
of social structure.
Katz and Kahn (p. 37) note that "There has been no more pervasive,
persistent, and futile fallacy handicapping the social sciences than the
use of the physical model for the understanding of social processes"