Limited Sharing within Statuses and the Sources of Statuses' Effectiveness: The Issues
The fact that culture is only very partially shared and that this is true within status categories as well as between them raises the question of how they can work effectively. A closely related question concerns the foundations for the differentiated cultural conformity without which such sharing as may exist has little significance either for individual survival or group continuation.
These two sorts of questions, concerning sharing and concerning conformity, are closely, in some instances inextricably, connected. The sharing issues are concerned with the processes involved in having at least the minimum interpersonal agreement necessary for statuses to operate. The conformity issues are concerned with the processes involved in expectations actually serving as guides to interaction. Together, the processes concerned with the issues involved in sharing and in conformity provide both the necessary and the sufficient conditions for interaction.
Both the reaching of agreement and the following of the expectations agreed on depend on social relations actually proceeding, since statuses function mainly in interaction rather than in the mind alone. Since this is so and since interaction only occurs when the participants believe they can predict each other's behavior, predictability is essential not only to guiding social relations but also to culture's general effectiveness as the basis for individual and group adaptation.