Discuss some of the status symbols of today’s society

Looking at the way human behavioral patterns spanning the eras, cultures and geographical barriers, creating a lasting impression on fellow society members is through symbols of one’s status. “Symbols take on important meanings in organizations; meanings that are defined by cultural and social conventions and interactions”. (Rafaeli, 1999)

In societies, status symbols are a visual reflection of the excess wealth that an eminent and influential member of society might wish to showcase. “Trophy wife” is a luxurious reflection of a man’s sophisticated tastes, power and masculinity. Expensive jewelry is considered to be a sign of belonging to the upper-class society. The same goes for appearance. For instance, a well-dressed customer, who walks into a store, gets more attention from a salesperson, than a non-costly dressed one. Electronic gazettes like cell phones, tablets or laptops are the most preferred form of display, since they are must-have goods today. Owning a large number of transport options, like private jets, yachts or expensive fuel-guzzling cars, is in vogue.

Nowadays is very difficult to define the meaning of status symbol due to the blurred distinctions between social classes of people. The goodwill and level of status of a human being can be reflected on the basis of the clothes and accessories worn by him. Instead, one’s social status is seen not in the frequency of indulged luxury, but in the quality of it. Where to spend a family holidays is more vital than when or how often. Is it a cruise to the South of France or a car trip to the neighboring county every month? Cooking food themselves or hiring a qualified chef? The custom now is to invest in products or services that are sophisticated.

According to Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, (2008): “Impending changes in status cause changes in the brain’s reward centre that are just as strong as monetary reward.”


Meyer-Lindenberg, (2008), Central Institute of mental Health, Mannheim, Germany


Rafaeli, 1999, Symbols in Organizational Culture