Difference Between Role and Function

Main Difference – Role vs Function

Role and functions are two words that can be used sometimes as synonyms. However, there is a subtle difference between role and function. The main difference between role and function is that role is a part played by someone in a particular situation whereas function is the duty of someone or the natural purpose of something.

This article explores,

1.What is a Role?
      – Definition, Characteristics, Examples

2.What is a Function?
      – Definition, Characteristics, Examples

3.What is the difference between Role and Function?

Difference Between Role and Function- Comparison Summary

What is a Role

Role can be defined simply as a part played by someone in a particular situation. We all play different roles in our lives. At home, we play the role of a parent, child or sibling. At work, we play the role of an employee. These roles are parts of our identities. Yet different roles are associated with different responsibilities, duties, and functions. For example, the role of a mother includes responsibility of protecting the child from harm whereas the role of a child involves the duty of respecting the parents.

Role can also refer to the professional position of a person or the part played by a person in a professional environment. For example, the role of a teacher may involve mediator of learning, disciplinarian, confidant to students, organizer of lessons, etc. The duties and functions of a profession are also associated with this word role, i.e., what the person in that position does in his professional capacity. For instance, a doctor’s role involve identifying medical conditions and treating patients.

The role of a police officer is to make sure that the law is obeyed.

What’s Jack’s role in this project?

She gave up her job and assumed the role of a caregiver.

Main Difference - Role vs Function

Role of a teacher may involve mediator of learning, disciplinarian, confidant to students, organizer of lessons, etc.

What is a Function

Function is defined as “the action or purpose for which a person or thing is suited or employed” by the American Heritage dictionary. The Oxford dictionary defines it as “practical use or purpose in design”. In simple terms, function refers to the natural purpose of something or the duty of a person. For example, the function of veins in the body is to carry blood to and from the heart; similarly, the function of a security guard is to ensure the security of a place.

People who play various roles in the society has different functions. The same applies to companies and organizations. For example, the function of a sales assistant is different from the function of the assistant manager of that company. Functions in this context refer to the duties held by a certain position. The word role is often used synonymously with function in this context.

No one knows what his function is within the company.

Mr. Anderson performs several important functions within the company.

His chief function is to provide legal advice to the firm.

Difference Between Role and Function

Difference Between Role and Function


Role: Role is a part played by someone in a particular situation.

Function: Function refers to the natural purpose of something or the duty of a person.


Role: A teacher plays the role of facilitator, mediator, organizer, confidante, etc.

Function: A teacher’s functions include organizing the lessons, teaching the students, assessing the student’s knowledge, etc.


Role: An individual can play different roles in different contexts.

Function: Each role has different functions associated with it.

 Image Courtesy:  

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

Leave a Comment

Related pages

examples of archaic dictioncompare sex chromosomes with autosomeswhat is the difference between anthropology and sociologydefine the torque of a couplewhat is modulus of rigiditydifference between thermo and thermosetting plasticschemical formula for petroleum etheraction or linking verbsubordinate and coordinate clauseshansel and gretel short summarydefine telomeredefine metric tonthe chemical name for vitamin cbeta amylase enzymefable vs folktalestem cells totipotent pluripotent multipotentmalinois vs german shepherddifference between sushi and sashimiangina ischemiadifferentiate observation from inferencewhat is the difference between consonance and alliterationfunction of noun clausesdifference between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell structureneutron electron and protonwhat is the difference between a ged and a diplomadifference between onions and scallionscharacteristics of realism and naturalismbroil bake differenceisogamousprotostome developmentmoral immoral amoralpurpose of quick ratiohomonyms examples and sentencesvitamins are macronutrientsir and re verbs in frenchbiennial plant definitionxylem vs phloemthe difference between phonetic and phonologysentence with predicate nominativedifference between musical and opera2de echogerman measles signs and symptomsindirect objectstranslation initiation prokaryotesdifference between refracting and reflecting telescopesadverb adjective differencesucrose iupac namecitalopram versus prozacdifference between inductance and reactancecold sore vs canker sore vs fever blisterparenchyma collenchyma and sclerenchymawhat is the difference between drama and theatredefine phagocytosis and pinocytosisnpn vs pnp transistoraccording to piaget accommodation refers todenotation vs connotation examplesmonocots and dicots seedsdifference between alleles and genessynchronous motor vs asynchronous motorsuvat equations physicspure substance vs mixture exampleswhat is the formula for cpiexamples of spoonerismswhat is a proton neutron and electrondifference between fet and transistordifference between forced and free convectiondifference between adverbial and adjectival phrasesdifference cpap and bipapwhat is multicellular meanmetallic and nonmetallic elementssmooth reticulum endoplasmic functionschizoaffective vs schizophreniadifference between drama and comedyregular polygons examplesadverb adjective and noun clausesdefine evaporation in chemistryrealism naturalismdefinition of paramagneticwhat is the difference between a wolf and a coyotefawn german shepherdwhat is triploblasticpitbulls vs bulldogs