What are the Effects of Role ambiguity, Role Overload and Underload?

“If you don’t take the time to change your perception of yourself and your troubles, you will never master the stress in life.” –  K.N

Each of us has different level of tolerance to a situation of worry and urgency, pressure. It may be acceptable if one anticipates the achievement of positive results if it remains within a bearable amount of time. But, if it goes beyond acceptable limits, it leads to develop stress. Stress is mental, emotional or physical strain caused by anxiety or overwork.

There are many causes of stress. Here are some known causes of stress in a business organization. And the effects of stress on business employees are also to be discussed in this article briefly.

It comes as no surprise that most employees experience stress with regard to their job roles in an organization. There are many reasons of stress concerning the roles being assigned in organizations. There are circumstances when the roles of managers or employees are not clearly defined or where the positions are poorly presented. There is a lot of ambiguity as to which tasks should be performed and which should be excluded. Similarly, it makes unclear as to whom an employee should report and when he should report. This is regarded as Role ambiguity that denotes uncertainty about the expectations and behavior of the employees. In this way, the role ambiguity becomes a great cause of stress.

It happens quite often that the employees face problems as different groups of people have different expectations from them in an organization and it is difficult for the employees to fulfill dissimilar expectations at the same time in such situations. These inconsistent expectations are associated with the role which is called as role-conflict- causing stress.

Similarly, role-overload and role- underload are such situations that lead to stress for the employees. The former indicates that the employees are expected to do the tasks which are beyond their capacity and the time permits them to perform such tasks, while in case of latter, they have too little work to do – Stress in both situations is bound to develop.

In any case, stress can lead to negative consequences resulting in nervousness, depression, anger, fatigue and irritability. The adverse consequences of stress affecting organization give rise to absenteeism, low performance and low productivity. The research is evidenced by the facts that the effect of stress manifests accidents, addiction to alcohol, hypertension, blood pressure, coronary heart diseases and diabetes etc. It would thus be important for human resource department of an enterprise to take necessary measures about wellness of the employees. It needs to consciously decide how to respond to a conflict situation by assessing situations objectively and neutrally in order to reduce work-related stress.

However, stress is the realism of our life -that needs to be handled as and when needed – hence the need of stress management. If you want to cope with stress, you need to have relaxation. You should spend sufficient time in exercising regularly. It is very much important that you maintain positive attitude at all times by keeping balance between personal life and work. It is worth mentioning what has been said by William James about stress, “The greatest weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” Note that there is a good stuff available out there to help individuals to manage stressful situations successfully.

Written by:
K. A. Fareed (Fareed Siddiqui)
Writer, Trainer, Author, Blogger, Software Developer
BBA, MBA-Finance, MPhil-Financial Management, (PhD-Management)
MA-English, MPhil-English
Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Applications and Programming
Certificate course in English language proficiency
Level 1 – Leadership and Management ILM – UK
Pursuing CMA-USA
Individual Member of Institute of Management Consultants of India


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