Essay on the Causes of Vertical Mobility

If these new persons are chosen from all the strata of society, it provides a chance to the substantial number of people of different strata to achieve upward vertical mobility or social ascendance.

(ii) Obtaining Eligibility by Imitating the Life-Styles of the Upper Strata:

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There are various criteria by which the social status of the people is evaluated. ‘Life-styles’ represent one such criterion. Hence, people in the lower strata always try to emulate or acquire the ways of life, manners and life-styles of those who belong to the upper strata. In course of time, it may become possible for the people of the lower strata to qualify for membership of the upper strata.


People belonging to the lower castes in the Indian society are trying to acquire higher prestige and social recognition by imitating the life-styles of the upper caste people. This process is known as “Sanskritisation “.

(iii) To fill in the Social Vacuum Created:

Because of a lower birth rate within the upper strata, a social vacuum is created. This can be filled in by persons recruited from the lower layers. Example, If the owners or founder directors or general managers of the private companies or indus­tries are not having children, or if they are too young to assume high offices, then, the relatively efficient individuals occupying lower positions get a chance to assume high posts.

(iv) Inability to Perform the Tasks Assigned:

The unfitness of many individuals to perform the proper functions relevant to their stratum often causes vertical mobility. This unfitness may be caused because of various factors.

For example, owing to physical or mental sickness, accidents, old age, family problems and such other factors, some people occupying high positions may find it difficult to carry on the functions assigned. Under such circumstances the need arises for replacing these persons with different ones.

(v) Effect of Widespread Changes in the Social – Cultural and Political Environment:

When widespread changes take place in the socio-cultural environment of groups and their members, vertical social mobility may be caused. As Sorokin has pointed out; “A whimsical change in public taste makes millionaires out of Sinatras and beggars out of many old fashioned singers In the same manner, “rich deposits of oil, iron ore, etc., among a population that is aware of their industrial and economic uses serve to enrich the owners of such land and elevate them in social hierarchy ” [Parimal B. Kar.]

(vi) Readiness for Mobility:

Providing opportunities for mobility alone is not sufficient. The concerned individuals must have the mental willingness and the physical preparedness for mobility. All the people are not equally interested in availing of opportunities for mobility.

Some are not ready to leave their family and their birth place even if attractive avenues are offered to them. Rural people, illiterate and less literate people, are said to be less prepared for mobility than the urbanites and the more literate people. Further, people who have been living in a particular place permanently show less interest in mobility than those who are forced to migrate to faraway places.


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