Status inconsistency is a condition in which a person's social position is high in one regard but low in another regard. For example, in male-dominated industries, a woman in a position of power may experience status inconsistency. The woman's low gender status combined with her high position in the company may cause some tension and resentment among her colleagues.
A janitor who works for high wages is another example of a person who experiences status inconsistency. While janitors have a relatively low level of prestige in society, janitors in metropolitan areas often have higher salaries. By contrast, teachers are well-educated and respected by their community, yet they generally have low incomes.
In addition to income and gender, race also plays an important role in social status. For example, a successful minority who lives in a white-dominated society may face resentment and discrimination for their incongruous status.
The inverse of status inconsistency is status consistency. One example of a status-consistent person is a doctor. Doctors have respect and prestige in their communities, and they usually earn high incomes.
Status inconsistency theories suggest that people whose status is inconsistent tend to be more discontented and dissatisfied. They also have a general disliking for the ruling classes.