Role theory attempts to explain the interactions between individuals in organizations by focusing on the roles they play. Role behavior is influenced by role expectations for appropriate behavior in that position, and changes in role behavior occur through an iterative process of role sending and role receiving. (Thompson)
“A group of concepts, based on sociocultural and anthropological investigations, which pertain to the way people are influenced in their behaviors by the variety of social positions they hold and the expectations that accompany those positions.” (Barker, 1999).

Thompson, C. (2001, September 24). Conservation of Resources Theory, A Sloan Work and Family Encyclopedia Entry. Chestnut Hill, MA: Boston College. Katz, D., & Kahn, R. (1978). The social psychology of organizations (2nd Ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons. Barker, Robert L. (Ed.). (1999). The social work dictionary (4th Ed.). Washington, DC: NASW Press.