Cross-Cultural Role Conflict, Ambiguity, and Overload


In an international study spanning 21 countries, Peterson and colleagues (1995) investigated the post translation equivalency of measures of role con­flict, ambiguity, and overload previously used in studies of American sub­jects. Because confirmatory factor models of this group of measures fit the cross-national data poorly, the measures were refined using exploratory fac­ tor analyses in each country. This step identified items that would form reli­able scales equivalent in factor structures across countries. Five role ambi­guity items, three role conflict items, and five role overload items retained their factor structure in the countries studied. Overall, the values of the fit indexes compare favorably to those reported in confirmatory analyses of the full set of role stress items in U.S. samples.


Coefficient alpha values for the role ambiguity, role conflict, and role over­ load scales were .87, .93, and .93, respectively (Peterson et al., 1995; Van De Vliert & Van Yperen, 1996).


Across countries, role overload was correlated negatively with employee harmony, job satisfaction, and subjective well-being. Role ambiguity, role conflict, and role overload were positively correlated (Peterson et al., 1995).


Peterson, M. F., Smith, P. B., Akande, A., Ayestaran, S., Bochner, S., Callan, V., Cho, N. G., Jesuino, J. C., D’ Amorim, M., Francois, P., Hofmann, K., Koopman, P. L., Leung, K., Lim, T. K., Mortazavi, S., Munene, J., Radford, M., Ropo, A., Savage, G., Setiadi, B., Sinha, T. N. Sorenson, R., & Viedge, 452 (1995). Role conflict, ambiguity, and overload: A 21-nation study, Acad­ emy of Management Journal, 38(2), 429-452. © 1995 by Academy of Man­ agement. The items were taken from text, p. 440. Reproduced with permis­sion of Academy of Management in the format textbook via Copyright Clearance Center.


Responses are obtained on a 5-point Likert-type scale where 1 = strongly disagree and 5 = strongly agree.

Role conflict items:

  1. I often get involved in situations in which there are conflicting requirements.
  2. I receive incompatible requests from two or more people
  3. I have to do things that should be done differently under different

Role ambiguity items:

  1. I have clear planned goals and objectives for my job
  2. I know exactly what is expected of me
  3. I know what my responsibilities are
  4. I feel certain about how much responsibility I have
  5. My responsibilities are clearly defined

Role overload items:

  1. There is a need to reduce some parts of my role
  2. I feel overburdened in my role
  3. I have been given too much responsibility
  4. My workload is too heavy
  5. The amount of work I have to do interferes with the quality I want to maintain

This content is licensed under a CC-BY license. The CC-BY licenses grant rights of use the scales in your studies (the measurement instrument and its documentation), but do not replace copyright. This remains with the copyright holder, and you have to cite us as the source.

Mohammed Looti, PSYCHOLOGICAL SCALES (2023) Cross-Cultural Role Conflict, Ambiguity, and Overload. Retrieved from DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.31575.96163