DISCREPANCY MEASURES OF ROLE PERCEPTIONS AS SURROGATE MEASURES OF OCCUPATIONAL ROLE STRESS: A THEORETICAL AND CONCEPTUAL ISSUE
STRAMLER, CARLLA SUE
Doctor of Philosophy
Discrepancy or difference measures of job-related role perceptions have long been employed as environmentally-based surrogate measures of occupational role stress (i.e., subjective role conflict and role ambiguity). The validity of these differences measures as alternate indices of role stess, however, has only been assumed. The present research attempted to address this deficiency. Employees (N = 297) of a large public service agency responded to questionnaires concerning role-related activities in their jobs as either caseworkers or clerks, and concerning job-related affective and behavioral states, such as job satisfaction, involvement, and performance. Four competing theoretical models which examined the relationships between discrepancy measures and the affective and behavioral measures were tested. These models were derived for current theoretical and empirical findings. The following conclusions can be drawn from the results of this research: (1) Discrepancy measures of role perceptions were not related to subjective measures of role stress. (2) Discrepancy scores played a relatively minor role in theory; most of their variability was determined by factors outside the models. (3) Subjective measures of role stress made a fairly substantial contribution to theory as a mediator between organizationally-relevant antecedent and outcome variables. (4) Some group differences were indicated which suggests that discrepancy measures of role perceptions may have been more valid in the clerical sample. Although the continued use of discrepancy measures as surrogates of role stress cannot be recommended, further research is needed to clarify possible occupational differences in the utility of discrepancy scores. The potential use of discrepancy measures of role perceptions as a tool to improve supervisor-subordinate communications was suggested.