Recognition (sociology)

Recognition (sociology)

Recognition in sociology is public acknowledgement of person's status or merits (achievements, virtues, service, etc).

When some person is "recognized", he or she is accorded some special status, such as a name, title, or classification. Recognition can take many forms, such as mention in the mass media.

Historical examples

The Qianlong Emperor of China used large circular logos the size of a dinner plate to distinguish members of his family from his Han subjects. Their symbol of privilege was a Mandarin square on their clothing.


It becomes easier for people to be accepted into some social process if they allow themselves to fit into a social identity, as a signal that they implicity accept some social norm. Thus the use of uniform dress is a signal for both group inclusion and acceptance. Gangs use signals and dress for this purpose.

Dress codes and norms also occur for religious groups.

In employment

As a means to increase productivity, communication, and satisfaction in the workplace, recognition is a tool used by many successful organizations to address these challenges. Recognition can be used in multiple models, including manager-to-employee, employee-to-manager, and peer-to-peer. In terms of employment, individuals within an organization can acknowledge each other for great attitudes, individual efforts and team contributions that help build a great culture and positive work environment.

Recognition in the workplace can be a monetising activity, a complementary activity, or both. In terms of monetised activities, organizations will recognize employees with additional compensation (bonuses) or items that have a monetary value (tickets, trips, etc.). In terms of complementary activity, organizations will recognize employees through avenues such as broadcasting (notice to fellow employees) or public recognition with a “thank you”, “kudos”, or “congratulations”.

ee also

*Posthumous recognition
*Name recognition
*Donor recognition wall
*Roll call

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