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role ambiguity (social role ambiguity)

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

  • IPA Pronunciation
    • American English
      • /roʊl æmbɪˈɡjuːɪtɪ/
    • British English
      • /rəʊl æmbɪˈɡjuːɪtɪ/
  • Syllabification: (role am·bi·gu·i·ty)

Usage Notes

  • 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.

Additional Information

Related Terms


Cite the Definition of Role Ambiguity

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “role ambiguity.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved September 17, 2019 (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 September 17, 2019. https://sociologydictionary.org/role-ambiguity/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“role ambiguity.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 17 Sep. 2019. <https://sociologydictionary.org/role-ambiguity/>.