Short Essay on Role Conflict

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Firstly, an individual may experience conflict if there is a discrepancy between his perception of his role and his perception of his actual role behaviour. This conflict may have harmful effects upon his self-image.

For example, if a person finds a vast difference between-how he should act as a husband and how he actually does behave-he may experience an inner conflict. In extreme cases, one may even become neurotic.

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Secondly, an individual may experience conflicts within his own body of roles. An individual’ may perceive some incompatibility between the role-requirements of two or more roles when he is playing them together.

For example, one’s role as a doctor may come into clash with one’s role as a husband or wife at home. The doctor is expected to serve the patients even during the non-working hours, if the need arises.

It is equally expected of the same person as a husband or wife to pay attention to the needs of the family and family members at least during the non-working hours. Conflicts of this kind arise only when the occupants in the counter-positions perceive the role of the individual concerned in a different way.

Thus, the doctor experiences a conflict because; the doctor’s wife has a different perception of her husband’s role. Similarly, a factory worker may experience conflict when his opinion of his duties and obligations as a worker differs from the opinions of both his employer and his union leader.

In a simple, culturally homogeneous and relatively ‘immobile’ society, there may be compara­tively less role conflicts. But in a comparatively complex and heterogeneous social system role conflicts have increased a great deal. These have led to more and more group tensions a well as individual discomforts.


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