Agency is a concept in sociology that refers to the ability of individuals to act independently and make their own choices. It is the capacity for human beings to make decisions and take actions that are free from external constraints or influences.
In sociological theory, agency is often contrasted with structure, which refers to the larger social, economic, and cultural forces that shape and constrain the choices and actions of individuals. While structure can limit the options available to individuals and influence their behavior, agency refers to the ability to make decisions and act on them in spite of these constraints.
One of the key debates in sociology is the extent to which individuals have agency and the degree to which their behavior is shaped by structural forces. Some sociologists argue that individuals have a great deal of agency and can shape their own lives and the world around them through their choices and actions. Others argue that structural forces, such as social class, gender, and race, have a strong influence on individual behavior and limit the choices available to individuals.
The concept of agency is closely related to the idea of individualism, which emphasizes the importance of individual choice and action in shaping social outcomes. However, agency also takes into account the fact that individuals are influenced by the social and cultural contexts in which they live and the structural forces that shape their lives.
In many cases, agency is not an all-or-nothing concept, but rather exists on a continuum. Some individuals may have more agency than others due to their social position, access to resources, or other factors. For example, a wealthy individual may have more agency to shape their own life and make decisions about their future than someone who is poor and lacks access to resources.
Overall, agency is a central concept in sociology that helps us understand how individuals make choices and take action in their lives. By examining the ways in which agency is shaped by structural forces, sociologists can better understand the social and cultural factors that influence individual behavior and the ways in which society is organized and functions.
What is structure and agency in sociology?
Studies consistently uncover a strong correlation between watching violent television shows and movies and committing violence. The Real World: An Introduction to Sociology. The explosion in option grants continued unabated until the burst of the Internet bubble in 2000, followed by a series of accounting scandals that re-focused attention on the accounting treatment of options. Fligstein and Freeland 1995 argue that the most efficient contract used to govern the principal—agent relationship is determined by agency theory. The establishment of this contract is also the focus of agency theory. The Human Brain Book.
Suppose it is Friday night, and you are studying for a big exam on Monday. The same situation is found in Chinese SOEs. An object gains agency, therefore, when it is used for a specific means by a human. Extensions of the traditional model to incorporate differences in both ability and in the marginal productivity of CEO effort might help reconcile the data, but only given the additional assumptions that executives are more able and more productive in the United States. London, England: Croom Helm.
A chargeback system is a commonly used method to manage the user—IS professional relationship in order to achieve goal congruence, i. Beyond human agency, such a theoretical orientation also holds much promise for furthering our models and understandings of material culture. All agree, however, that objects and their subsequent actions and legacies are dependent upon human interaction and societal intentions. Society is the ever-present condition and the continuously repeated result of human action. Making History: Agency, Structure, and Change in Social Theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Gibson defines agency as action that furthers an actor's idiosyncratic objectives in the face of localized constraints that also have the potential of suppressing the very same action. I think your argument is very valid in terms of the existing scholarship in archaeology and material culture. Although these results are suggestive, self-dealing is a plausible rival explanation — boards that are monitored less give more pay to their CEO cronies. It is also adaptable and hence viable thus having a durable existence , proactive, self-organizing, self-regulating and so forth, participates in creating its own behaviour, and contributes to its life circumstances through cognitive and cultural functionality. Reconceptualizes intentional causality in terms of whole-part context-sensitive constraints.
In each of these cases, the underdevelopment of equity markets means that professional managers are inadequately monitored, and the emergence of concentrated ownership represents an alternative to agency monitoring mechanisms. Therefore, the significance of human purpose is highlighted, placing the person at the center of any investigation and posing questions about political and moral decision-making. Ultimately, questions of reconciliation of differential self-interest in the absence of trust, is impossible. People intentionally give these objects an agenda, and, in turn, imbue them with an agency of their own. Furthermore, social structure can be found at every level of society.
Exploring Sociology: A Canadian Perspective. Both contextual and organizational changes are ignored. On the one hand, equity investment can be attracted and retained by a firm that is accountable to its shareholders; on the other hand, the interests of other groups of stakeholders also need to be given proper consideration. The American Economic Review. For several years we have more contact with them than with any other adults. Jensen and Meckling 1976 identify three agency costs for principals to monitor agent behaviour: monitoring management, binding the agent to the principal, and residual losses.
The actual averages for 2003 in Panel B are generally consistent with the consultant surveys in Panel A for the same year, increasing my confidence in both data sources. Theory also predicts that incentive schemes and the adoption of such schemes should result in net increases in shareholder wealth. It has been noted that while agency is a socially significant quality of action, it must be understood as both more and less than mere action. This is not to deny the agency they acquire from human subjects, but I would like to point out that the capacities and energies, the possibilities of things are not restricted to their human companions' intentions. Agency is the ability to act in a way to accomplish your goals.
In sociology, structure and agency are the two most important drivers of social outcomes, but their relative significance is a major topic in sociological theory. As with gender studies, becoming caught up in the search for individuals risks displacement of what should be the primary objectives of identifying and understanding the contexts, structures and intersubjective dynamics through which agents expressed themselves. In terms of corporate computing, the end user is interested in obtaining system functionality at the least cost, while IS professionals may have different objectives. In both Williamson's transactions cost economics 1975 and in Jensen's agency theory Jensen and Meckling 1976 , the idea of self-interest in contractual arrangements between and within organizations is problematic. Typically, structures are seen as the more permanent and durable features of the social environment. Philadelphia: The University of Pennsylvania Press, 11-34.
An agency relationship is created when a person the principal authorizes another person the agent to act on his or her behalf. Yet which aspect of religion matters the most, religious preference or religiosity? Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc. They are essential to organizational formation and perpetuation. Kohn reasoned that working-class parents tend to hold factory and other jobs in which they have little autonomy and instead are told what to do and how to do it. Several institutional and other sources of socialization exist and are called agents of socialization. The SAGE Dictionary of Sociology.
Agency, therefore, fluctuates in meaning for individual archaeologists and scholars of material culture. First, US CEOs may be less risk averse or have steeper marginal costs of effort than their non-US counterparts, but to our knowledge there is no theory or empirical work suggesting such international differences in risk-aversion coefficients. Boudon, Raymond, and François Bourricaud. So, while the lives of individuals are shaped by the existing social structure, they none the less have the ability -- the agency -- to make decisions and express them in behavior. Ritzer, George and J. Overall, there are no compelling agency-theoretic explanations for the relative reliance on equity-based compensation in the United States.