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.
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.