Job Role Ambiguity scale


This measure, (Job Role Ambiguity) developed by Breaugh and Colihan (1994), uses nine items to measure role ambiguity in three areas: (1) work methods, defined as employee uncertainty about the methods to use to perform a job; (2) work scheduling, defined as uncertainty about the sequence in which tasks should be performed, the allocation of their time, and the sequence for performing certain tasks; and (3) performance evaluation, defined as employee uncer­tainty concerning the standards that are used for measuring and assessing whether job performance is satisfactory.


Coefficient alpha values ranged from .81 to .92 for ambiguity in work meth­ods, .80 to .91 for ambiguity in scheduling, and .93 to .97 for performance criteria ambiguity (Breaugh & Colihan, 1994). The internal consistency reli­ability of the combined scale was .89 (Fortunato et al., 1999). In a series of four studies, the measures showed average test-retest reliabilities of r = .65 for work method ambiguity, .73 for scheduling ambiguity, and .80 for per­formance criteria (Breaugh & Colihan, 1994).


In four studies by Breaugh and Colihan (1994), all three dimensions of ambiguity correlated negatively with satisfaction with work and satisfaction with supervision. The correlations for performance criteria ambiguity were the largest in absolute size. Both work methods ambiguity and performance criteria ambiguity were negatively correlated with supervisory performance ratings of employees. Overall job ambiguity was also negatively related to employee tenure with the company and tenure with the employee’s super­ visor (Fortunato et al., 1999).


Breaugh, J. A., & Colihan, J.P. (1994). Measuring facets of job ambiguity: Construct validity evidence. Journal of Applied Psychology, 79(2), 191-203. Items were taken from the appendix, p. 202. Copyright© 1994 by the Amer­ican Psychological Association. Reprinted with permission.


Responses are obtained using a 7-point Likert-type scale where 1 = strongly disagree and 7 = strongly agree (lower scores indicate higher levels of ambiguity).

Work method ambiguity items:

  1. I am certain how to go about getting my job done (the methods to use)
  2. I know what is the best way (approach) to go about getting my work done
  3. I know how to get my work done (what procedures to use)

Scheduling ambiguity items:

  1. I know when I should be doing a particular aspect (part) of my job
  2. I am certain about the sequencing of my work activities (when to do what)
  3. My job is such that I know when I should be doing a given work activity

Performance criteria ambiguity items:

  1. I know what my supervisor considers satisfactory work performance
  2. It is clear to me what is considered acceptable performance by my supervisor
  3. I know what level of performance is considered acceptable by my supervisor

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) Job Role Ambiguity scale. Retrieved from DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.31575.96163