Davis-Moore Theory

            In the year 1945, Davis and Moore came up with a useful supposition of stratification whose intention was to report for their contention of the universal obligation for the social disparity in any given social arrangement. According to Davis and Moore, stratification is a scheme of grade positions and jobs; and the primary point of the supposition is the fact that stratification is ubiquitous and essential. The functionalists believe that stratification and disparity are unavoidable and valuable to the world. The stratum of the society, conceived as a pyramid, is the foreseeable categorization of disparate people (Hauhart, 2003).

 The layering is essential as it makes certain that the best individuals are always at the top and the less significant ones are at the bottom of the hierarchy, and for that case possess less authority and get little rewards than the more quality individuals who are at the top. The social inequality guarantees that there is the filling of the most functionally important jobs by the most skilled competent persons. For instance, it is meaningful for the General Manager of an organization, whose rank, functionally, is more important to earn more salary than the junior employee in the same company.

Through that, there is motivation in the job as people try their level best to deliver and get promoted to the higher positions so as to earn more. Also, if there were equal payment irrespective of the duties, then people would go for the simple ones that require little training and leave alone the multiple jobs. The incentive for working hard and making the terrible educational careers would never be there, and the society would be full of lazy individuals. For that case, the high pay is a motivation for the many years of training and endurance in undertaking the challenging careers.

One of the criticisms of the functionalists’ theory is that it has the assumption that the social stratification is fair and rational and that the best individuals usually finish at the top, but that has never been the case in the real world. The majority of people end up at the upper part because of the family background of coming from the pinnacle of the stratification system which paves their way. The theory assumes the fact that others have more access to wealth and social status. Therefore, the majority of the high ranking individuals are usually not the best. Another criticism of the theory is that it is very hard to the determination of the functional significance of any career due to the more specialist and inter-reliance which makes all the positions essential to the entire operation. For instance, the factory engineers are just as vital as the other employees for the project to be successful.

The functionalists’ theory should only be applicable in some cases to the society but not in all as some individuals at the top are not always the most suitable for the positions but are there due to the family background. The theory should take into consideration the discrimination and the availability of jobs that the individuals undergo.


Hauhart, R. C. (2003). The Davis-Moore Theory of Stratification: The Life Course of a Socially Constructed Classic. The American Sociologist, 34(4), 5-24.

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