There are certain attitudes and actual behaviours consistent with a role. These create the role identity. Role identity is better when the roles are clearly defined. On the contrary, if the roles are ill-defined, the role identities become clouded.
People shift roles rapidly when there is change in situation and demand for change is also recognized. For example, when the union leaders were promoted to foremen positions, their attitudes changed from pro-workers to pro-management within a month of their promotion.
Role ambiguity refers to the discrepancy between the defined role and perceived role. This is a confusion resulting from the delegation of job responsibilities. Many times, some jobs do not have job description in writing and when employees are asked to do something, they are confused. Role ambiguity is harmful for employees. The evil consequences of job ambiguity are frustration, job dissatisfaction and stress or tensions. However, extreme role ambiguity creates an unhealthy condition leading to absenteeism and turnover.
Role Conflict : People in their lives perform several roles. While on the job, one performs the role of the servant, when the same person is off the job, he performs roles like a husband, a father, a brother and so on. Many of these roles are compatible, whereas some roles create conflict. Thus, when a person is confronted by divergent role expectations, this is called 'role conflict'. Role conflict emerges when the compliance with one role requirement makes difficult the compliance with another one. In some extreme cases, two or more roles may turn to be mutually contradictory or conflicting.
Role Expectations : In simple words, role expectations are what other people believe one should behave in a given situation. How one behaves is determined inter alia by the role defined in the context he is behaving or acting. For example, the role of a Professor is believed as having sincerity and dignity, whereas a football coach is viewed as aggressive, dynamic and inspiring to his players.
Enforcing Group Norms
Group norms may vary from a very simple rule to very complex set of prescriptions and prohibitions. Therefore, it is always not possible to enforce norms quite easily. Group leaders can devise certain actions for the adherence to group norms, particularly those norms which are critical to the group. These actions may be of the following types:
1. Education : Adherence to group norms can be increased through educating the group members about how the group norms contribute to the achievement of group goals. They may be educated and persuaded to give up their gains in favour of the group gains. Increasing each member's involvement in the group's activities also helps in adherence to group norms.
2. Surveillance : Surveillance of adherence to group norms provides clue to measure the degree to which group members adhere to norms. Such a clue helps managers to devise suitable actions for ensuring conformity to norms. If the deviation to norms cannot be detected directly, some other means can be developed to measure this.
3. Warning : Deviant members can be warned of the consequences of non-adherence to group norms. Such a warning may induce the deviant members to reappraise their profit or loss from adherence or non-adherence to group norms.
4. Sanctions : This is the stage of taking actions against deviant members, However, sanctions have some negative consequences. Therefore, they should be used quite judiciously. Sanctions should be used only if means of persuading deviant members are exhausted.