This paper discusses the characteristics of organizational roles. We point out differences between the concept of a role as it is commonly used in software development, and the concept of a role as it is implemented in an organization. Roles in organizations have their own identity and do not depend on role players for their existence. We define some characteristic properties of both roles and players in organizational contexts, and show how the functional boundary between a role and its player varies depending on the level of autonomy the player is allowed. Possible implementation strategies for both roles and players are then discussed.