Impact of Role Ambiguity in the Organisation

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Impact of Role Ambiguity in the Organization
Thubur Sun Swargowari Indian Institute of Management Raipur

Abstract The purpose of this conceptual paper is to have brief analysis on the impact of Role ambiguity in the job performance and how it affects the organization as a whole. It also through light on how role ambiguity produces psychological strain and dissatisfaction, which lead to under-utilization of human resources and leads to feeling of futility on how to cope with the organizational environment. The detrimental effects of the role ambiguity are discussed along with the notion that the relationship between role ambiguity and many outcomes are curvilinear one, where certain levels of ambiguity is necessary in order to motivate but beyond which the outcome are detrimental. Some of the tactics used for reducing role ambiguity are discussed (in particular role clarification, role negotiation and the possibilities of participative decision making strategies).
Introduction According to Kahn, Wolfe, Quinn, Snoek, and Rosenthal (1964) the role ambiguity means the single or multiple roles that confront the role incumbent, which may not be clearly articulated (communicated) in terms of behaviors (the role activities or tasks/priorities) or performance levels(the criteria that the role incumbent will be judged by). They also opined that it is the simultaneous occurrence of two or more role pressures so that compliance with one makes it more difficult to comply with other. Breaugh &Colihan (1994) have further refined the definition of role ambiguity to be job ambiguity and indicate that job ambiguity possesses three distinct aspects: work methods, scheduling, and performance criteria. Most often job ambiguity leads to the job dissatisfaction and the underperformance of job and it also leads to the psychological strain and dissatisfaction. Role ambiguity creates chaos in the organization as the work to be done is not specified. The strategies for minimizing of role conflict like role clarification, role negotiation and the possibilities of participative decision making strategies are precisely needed to be examined for better performance of work without any ambiguities in the work.

Role Ambiguity and Organization Role ambiguity has been identified as an organizational factor associated with job dissatisfaction (Wilkerson & Bellini, 2006) and the role ambiguity is the degree to which clear information is lacking regarding the expectation associated with a role (Kahn et al., 1964) i.e. there arises chaos in the working environment of the Organization which may causes the low morality of the workers as well as psychological strain on the parts of the employees which in turn affects in the low productivity. Spector (1997), “role ambiguity is the degree of certainty the employ has about what his or her functions and responsibilities are. According to classical theory, every position in a structured organization should have a specified set of tasks or position responsibilities, and role ambiguity reflects the degree of employees’ uncertainty regarding the appropriate actions in performing job functions (Miles, 1976). Due to uncertain role expectation, employees hesitate to make decisions and will have to meet the expectations. “Role conflict and Role ambiguity are the two specific occupational stressors that organizational employees Experience with regard to the multiple roles they assume within the organization”

Due to uncertain role expectation, employees...
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