1. R.T. Schaefer :
"Role conflict occurs when incompatible expectations arise from two or more social patterns held by the same person."
2. Van der Zander :
"Role conflict is a situation in which people are confronted within comparable role requirements."
In a society, there are many occasions and means of role conflict. Role conflict produces such a social condition in which an individual feels that he is being dragged in different directions. It becomes very painful for the individual when he feels no suitable solution of this.
Role conflict incidents are common in our daily life and their incidence in the society is an expression of our participation. Many problems take place which have been explained by the examples given below: A son of a football coach, is under his training. At the selection of a team he will meet a role conflict when he reaches the state to include his son in the team or to give right to some other good athlete. Such a social condition is called a. role conflict.
From the Indian Pakistani society, a classical example can be given. In a combined family, a new married son falls a prey to such a social condition when his wife for her rights had attached strong expectations and wants his attention whereas his parents want their own rights to be fulfilled by him and expect obedience and service from him. In this case, the individual feels that he is being dragged in two opposite directions which produce role conflict along with role strain.
Different sociologists have researches to know the causes of role conflict and have pointed out the following causes:
1. Inappropriate Role Training :
In the social life of an individual, some roles are part of daily life. One or more roles are such duties which are the basic aims of life and are necessary for the provision of facilities of life. These roles have the position of master status as :
J.W. Vander says, "Master status is a key role status that carries primary weight in a person's interaction and relationships with others."
"If there is no proper experience and knowledge of discharging of master status especially and its training is not suitable or incomplete, the individual does not feel related with it actually and he has no feeling of its importance in doing. As a result of this, he falls a prey to many sides pull and suffers a role conflict."
2. Social Complications :
In the ancient societies of Hunting and Gathering, even in agrarian, the status of individual was simple and limited and there was no possibility of any unexpected condition or situation and there were no role conflict incidents but with the modern industrial urban societies, overpopulation, material culture fastness and change and increase in the number of different types of plans, the social life became very complicated. The increase in the activities of the individual carries rapid changes in the role and this creates disharmony and difficulties in the better performance )f role and as a result, the individual falls a prey to role conflict.
3. Industrial Development :
Because of industrial progress, new professions take place of ancient occupations. Social life becomes fast. Mutual expectations and relations are increased. The social interaction circle of an individual becomes vast and to meet the social demands there is deviation in social values and as a result of this, behaviour changes take place. The social and economic pressure increases in maintaining harmony between demands and behaviours and this, in term, increases the mental worries of an individual. The ability of reaction becomes weak in different situations, affecting the mental and physical activity.
4. Social Disorder :
The rapid industrial progress, expansion of urban population in an unorganized manner and the unexpected changes in the social values and traditions are a cause of social dispersion. According to Robert Merton theory `Anomie' in the above situation: "An individual falls a prey to deviation because of stage two of innovation, there is a cultural goal for him but institutional means are limited or approach to them is difficult and this produces a mental and moral conflict and results in the form of role conflict. When most of the individuals of a society feel difficulties in attaining their aims, they turn to waywardness that make the grip of low work by and by. People begin to disbelieve the social sanctions and in this case, these individuals of the society who believe the sources of organizations to gain the cultural goals, their confidence is also shaken and the importance of role becomes less and they suffer a mental conflict, lose their self-confidence and power of decision and fall a prey to role conflict."
Consequences of Role Conflict
This being a social condition or situation is also a socio-psychological dilemma that creates social and psychological problems which are explained below: 1. Mental Disturbances: Role conflict takes place in such a social situation where in the socialization of an individual the values, norms and traditions becoming part o his personality one or the other is affected in a negative manner, which leaves behind its mental strain that becomes a case of mental worries. Because of this, dispersion in the concentration and attention of an individual takes place and as result the mental and physical efficiency suffers a decrease.
2. Lacking Decision Power :
Role conflict affected individual, falls a prey to difficulties of deciding about his behaviour in different situations. According to R.T. Schaefer: "Role conflict makes difficulties that result from the differing demands and expectations associated with the social position." This uncertain condition becomes painful for him. Bitter experiences make his thinking dispersed and he goes under stress and thinks why he falls a prey to this again and again. The fear of making a mistake, creates a hesitation in him, which decrease his capability and he will fully delay in a decision and avoids to decide which reduces his power of decision.
3. Decrease in Working Capability :
There is a state anxiety in role conflicted individuals and a restlessness and boredom is a dominating element in them. After small work they become tired but instead of resting, there is a sense of wastage of time and they again busy themselves in work showing impatience and because of precipitation commit mistakes and suffer from commotion which creates an agitation in them. Anger and mental depression increases. Other's reaction bits their ego and a vicious circle is established and the individuals suffering from this lose their ability to work rapidly. Interest in work is lost due to digestedness and efficiency suffers seriously.
4. Lack of Confidence :
Role conflict creates a sense of failure of decision in an individual and he suffers from inferiority complex. He thinks that other individuals of the society suspect his abilities which make his social status seriously affected. Stephen Marks, a famous sociologist's analysis, shows that multiple roles create in an individual a role strain which makes the individual fall a prey to role conflict and he does not accept a responsibility immediately and is unable to do his role with attention showing his lack of confidence.