Difference Between Role Conflict and Role Strain

Role Conflict vs Role Strain
 

Every person has a number of roles to play in their personal and professional lives. A person may have to play a number of roles simultaneously, face conflict among roles, or may have to make conflicting decisions within the same role. Role conflict and role strain refer to two such forms of behavior that observe the manner in which people react to various conflicts among their roles and demands within these roles. The following article clearly explains each form of behavior and highlights the similarities and differences between role conflict and role strain.

What is Role Conflict?

Role conflict occurs when a person has many roles in the organization and in his personal life and faces tension due to these many roles that he has to play. Role conflict occurs with two or more than two roles where a person is unable to balance all roles at the same time. These roles may become contradictory in nature, demanding the person to make choices in between which tasks to take on at a time. A good example of role conflict is a working mother who is also the chief financial officer of her firm has to be at a meeting crucial to the company’s future, but at the same time she is needed at her child’s school concert. Here, she is forced to decide between her role as an employee and a mother, and her decision may depend on the consequences to be faced in the long term. Whatever the decision may be, it will create conflict and will ultimately result in a sacrifice being made.

What is Role Strain?

Role strain is when a person faces stress in one role that he plays. He or she may have many things to do in this one role and is unable to balance all tasks in that role, or may be faced with conflicting decisions within the same role. A role strain makes it difficult for a person to be effective in their role as the role demands more than that an individual can take on. A good example of role strain would be the following. A manager of a firm’s marketing department having his team work the weekend to meet a deadline and appear committed to the firm’s superiors may at the same time feel bad about asking his team to work the weekend after a very hectic week at work. In this case, regardless of the decision that the manager makes he may not be satisfied as he has to forgo one to achieve another.

Role Strain vs Role Conflict

Role strain and role conflict are similar to one another in that they always put a person in stress and often result in that person not being satisfied regardless of the decision that he make. It is mainly because when faced with role conflict or role strain the person has to make a sacrifice. The main difference between role strain and role conflict is that the role strain is where a person faces conflict within one role, and role conflict involves a number of roles, where each role collides against one another. Both role strain and role conflict require a person to assess his priorities and prioritize accordingly thereby taking into consideration the long-term consequences when making decisions.

What is the difference between Role Strain and Role Conflict?

• A person may have to play a number of roles simultaneously, face conflict among roles, or may have to make conflicting decisions within the same role. Role conflict and role strain refer to two such forms of behavior.

• Role conflict occurs when a person has many roles in the organization and in his personal life and faces tension due to these many roles that he has to play. These roles may become contradictory in nature, demanding the person to make choices in between which tasks to take on at a time.

• Role strain is when a person faces stress in one role that he plays. He or she may have many things to do in this one role and is unable to balance all tasks in that role, or he may be faced with conflicting decisions within the same role.