Functionalists think in terms of systems. Rather than seeing things in isolation, functionalists and the heirs to this tradition see how they are related to other parts of the same system and, specifically, how the parts of society contribute to the well-being of one another
To apply these assumptions to a real-work example, consider health care in the United States. Of the vast sums spent on health care for the elderly, some goes into medical research. The discoveries of medical researchers help not only the elderly but children and adults of all ages.
Consider that functionalism is not only systemic but also works backward to explain phenomena in terms of their functions. From this perspective it can be viewed that the U.S. healthcare system embodies its particular institutions precisely because they contribute to medical research and help children and adults.
With reference to this example and one other of your choosing, evaluate the position that functionalism is inherently conservative insofar as it tends to be supportive of the status quo.