(i) The Act: Social act or action is a process in the social system that motivates the individual or individuals in the case of a group.
The orientation of action has a close relation with the attainment of satisfaction of the actor. The action is not an unexpected response to a particular situation or stimulus. It indicates that the actor has a system of expectations relative to his own need-arrangements. The need-arrangement system of the individual actor has two aspects: (i) the gratification aspect, and (ii) the orientational aspect. The gratificational aspect refers to what the actor gets out of his interaction and what its costs are to him. The orientational aspect refers to the how he gets it. Both these aspects must be present in what is called a social act.
(ii) The Actor: The actor is also a significant unit of social system. It is he who holds a status and performs a role. A social system must have a sufficient proportion of its actors. These actors must be sufficiently motivated to act according to the requirements of its role system. The social system must also be adapted to the minimum needs of the individual actor. The system must secure sufficient participation of its actors also. It means, it must motivate them sufficiently to the performances which are necessary for the social system to develop or to persist.
The act and actor are complementary to each other. The actor has to act according to the roles assigned to him. This he learns through the process of socialisation. The social system limits and regulates the needs and also actions of the actor. This, the system does through social control. (iii) The Role and Status: The social system involves the participation of actor in a process of interactive relationship. This participation has two aspects: (i) the role aspect, and (ii) the status aspect. Role denotes the functional significance of the actor for the social system.
Status denotes the place of the actor in the social system. An actor has a high or low status in a social system and he has a definite role to play. Different roles associated with the same status are properly integrated in the system. The actors are distributed between different roles. This process of distribution has been called by Parsons “allocation”. Proper allocation of roles between actors minimises problems for the system. The allocation of roles is related to the problem of allocation of facilities. Problem -of facilities is actually the problem of power because possession of facilities means to have power—economic or political.
Thus, a social system faces the problems of proper allocation of roles, proper allocation of facilities and rewards and proper allocation of economic and political power. If this allocation is properly made it may preserve itself, otherwise, it may disintegrate.