Definition of Role Ambiguity
(noun) A situation caused by uncertain expectations and responsibilities in the performance of a particular role.
Example of Role Ambiguity
- An individual starts a new job and is unsure of their responsibilities which cause dissatisfaction, stress and tension.
Role Ambiguity Pronunciation
Syllabification: role am·bi·gu·i·ty
- American English – /rOHl am-buh-gyOO-uh-tee/
- British English – /rOHl am-bi-gyOO-i-tee/
International Phonetic Alphabet
- American English – /roʊl ˌæmbɪˈgjuəti/
- British English – /rəʊl ˌæmbɪˈgju(ː)ɪti/
- Plural: role ambiguities
- The terms “role ambiguity” and “social role ambiguity” are used interchangeably in a sociological context.
- Role ambiguity is often studied in the sociology of work.
- Role Theory Resources – Books, Journals, and Helpful Links
- Word origin of “role” and “ambiguity” – Online Etymology Dictionary: etymonline.com
- Basow, Susan A. 1992. Gender: Stereotypes and Roles. 3rd ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole.
- Biddle, Bruce J. 1979. Role Theory: Expectations, Identities, and Behaviors. New York: Academic Press.
- Epstein, Julia, and Kristina Straub. 1991. Body Guards: The Cultural Politics of Gender Ambiquity. London: Routledge.
- Goffman, Erving. 1961. Encounters: Two Studies in the Sociology of Interaction. Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill.
- Kahn, Robert L. 1964. Organizational Stress: Studies in Role Conflict and Ambiguity. New York: Wiley.
- Linton, Ralph. 1936. The Study of Man: An Introduction. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.
- Mead, George Herbert. 1934. Mind, Self & Society from the Standpoint of a Social Behaviorist. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Merton, Robert King. 1968. Social Theory and Social Structure. New York: Free Press.
- Waddington, P. A. J. 1983. The Training of Prison Governors: Role Ambiguity and Socialization. London: Croom Helm.
- role conflict
- role distancing
- role exit
- role expectation
- role performance
- role reversal
- role segregation
- role strain
- role taking
- role theory
ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “role ambiguity.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved October 3, 2022 (https://sociologydictionary.org/role-ambiguity/).
APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)
role ambiguity. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/role-ambiguity/
Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)
Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “role ambiguity.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed October 3, 2022. https://sociologydictionary.org/role-ambiguity/.
MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)
“role ambiguity.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 3 Oct. 2022. <https://sociologydictionary.org/role-ambiguity/>.