Intra role conflict - decide on your role and stand by it!

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Intra role conflict - decide on your role and stand by it!

Every person fulfills a certain role in life. For example, you may be responsible for the household and raising children. Or implement your life's mission as a leader in a company. Each role comes with specific responsibilities.

An intra-role conflict arises when one's own ideas do not match the expectations of others. Conflicting role perceptions within one role or between different roles can lead to dissatisfaction and problems. There are ways to resolve an intra-role conflict.

What is intra-role conflict and why does it affect you?

What is an intra role conflict? The Latin term "intra" means "within". An intra-role conflict refers to a conflict situation within a role. The conflict situation is caused by contradictory expectations of outsiders towards the role owner.

Simply put: Do you want to please everyone? Then many plans and wishes will remain unfulfilled! An intra-role conflict is solved by you deciding for a role. Every person experiences different role conflicts in his life.

Conflict situations can arise at work, at home or during leisure time. An example of an intra-role conflict: High sales figures are expected from the sales staff. At the same time, however, service providers have the task of providing objective advice. Sometimes a boutique salesperson would like to tell a customer that the dress she has chosen does not fit her. But the sales expectations of her employer prevent her from doing so.

Your superiors expect you to carry out their instructions loyally, but also to be proactive and assertive. Your partner wants to spend a lot of time with you, but at the same time expects you to take care of the household and the children. Conflicting expectations lead to an intra-role conflict.

Inter and intra role conflict - how do they differ?

Intra-role conflict is conflict that results from incompatibility within one role with the expectations of others. Inter-role conflict occurs between two or more of a person's social roles.

Each role brings with it different responsibilities. The most common type of inter-role conflict is the controversy between professional and personal obligations. Your employer asks you to work overtime because urgent projects need to be completed. However, you have to pick up your child from kindergarten. Also, your partner expects you to do the shopping because he (or she) is in an important meeting.

intra role conflict example

The 5 most common causes of intra-role conflict at work.

Responsible people with high expectations of themselves often have to deal with an intra-role conflict on the job. Are you one of those people who always want to juggle everything?

The most common causes of intra-role conflict at work are:

  1. Perfectionism
  2. strong sense of duty
  3. Misunderstandings due to communication in need of improvement
  4. Fear of job loss
  5. Difficulty accepting assigned roles

How do I recognize intra-role conflict in my life?

Intra-role conflict occurs when expectations and demands within a role are incompatible. In many situations in daily life, you are expected to fulfill conflicting expectations.

In the workplace, important tasks that require careful research should be completed as quickly as possible. Without thorough analysis, there is a risk of submitting poorly edited documents. If the necessary time is spent on research, the time limit cannot be met.

The fulfillment of all expectations is therefore unrealistic. You have to choose between two or more options. Not fulfilling the instructions is not a solution. It brings negative consequences.

How do you decide? Do you prefer to fulfill the expectation with the least consequences? Or do you base your decision on the most influential person? Do you check with the manager instead of following the instructions of the team leader? Recognize conflict situationsso that you can react to it and find suitable solutions.

Relationship conflicts and intra-role conflicts: what is the connection?

People differ from each other in their expectations, ideas and desires. A relationship conflict is a conflict on the relationship level. Intra-role conflict, on the other hand, is a problem within a role. Nevertheless, there are connections between these two forms of conflict.

Conflict situations arise when incompatible action tendencies meet. What relationship conflicts and intra-role conflicts have in common is the desire for recognition, which determines human courses of action. Another commonality is organizational deficiencies that can create friction. Change always triggers resistance. This is just as true in relationship conflict with a partner as it is in intra-role conflict at work.

what is an intra role conflict

8 tips to help you cope and strengthen your relationships

Review your expectations when managing intra-role conflict. These eight tips will help you understand conflict situations and resolve role conflict:

  1. decide which expectations you want to fulfill
  2. communicate clearly and concisely
  3. analyze your possibilities
  4. learn to prioritize
  5. please understand
  6. make compromises
  7. Maintain good contact with superiors and colleagues
  8. Be flexible

What impact does unresolved intra-role conflict have on you?

An unresolved intra-role conflict is a heavy burden you carry around with you. Unresolved conflicts can have psychological and physical effects. Dealing with the problem constructively helps to resolve an intra-role conflict amicably.

In the professional world, conflicts can quickly arise due to different characters and interests. As a manager, you are expected to endure opposites and offer possible solutions. Unresolved intra-role conflicts on the job put a strain on relationships between employees. Role conflicts also have a negative impact on the working atmosphere.

Constructive behavior ensures long-term cooperation in the team. Are you a harmony-seeking person who tends to avoid conflict? Avoiding conflict is not an appropriate conflict strategy. Problems that are not talked about lead to frustration and inner dissatisfaction. With empathy and tolerance, different views can be reconciled.

5 steps to successfully resolve an intra-role conflict

Successfully resolving an intra-role conflict is accomplished in five steps. The individual steps are:

  1. analyze others' expectations of you
  2. compare these claims with your own expectations
  3. put yourself in the position of the others
  4. decide which role fills you
  5. share your understanding of your role with others

The first step in resolving a role conflict amicably is self-analysis. Consider what expectations others might have of you. What do your superiors and your family expect from you?

Compare these demands with your own expectations of your life role. Are there differences? Do others have demands on you that you can't (or won't) meet? What are these demands? Look at it from the perspective of others. Are the expectations justified or exaggerated?

Decide which role really fills you! Share your understanding of your role with others. Communicate directly and clearly. This will help you avoid misunderstandings.

Weigh your decision carefully. Is it possible for you to permanently fulfill a role expectation that does not suit you? Do you still want to accept this role? Learn, Resolve conflicts peacefully.

Argue convincingly. Remain calm and relaxed in conflict situations. An intra-role conflict can be resolved. Unresolved conflicts put a strain on the interpersonal atmosphere. Therefore, the others are also interested in a constructive solution.

The role of communication in the solution

Good communication is helpful in all situations in life. What makes good communication? Create an open atmosphere by listening and letting the other person finish what he or she has to say. Use "I" messages to convey your opinion clearly and understandably. Proper communication plays an essential role in resolving intra-role conflicts.

Signs that communication needs improvement are frequent misunderstandings. Convince with arguments instead of justifying your actions. Practice constructive criticism and accept critical comments from others.

Learn to talk about complex problems. No one is to blame for the emergence of an intra-role conflict. Role conflicts arise when different expectations collide.

You can achieve understanding and compassion for your situation by addressing unpleasant issues in the right way. Describe your experience. A typical intra-role conflict example in the workplace takes place in a team.

Sage: "I would like to finish the project. But in management today, people are still counting on the monthly statistics. This one is really urgent. So I ask for your understanding that I have to bring this task forward. I will finish the project work tomorrow morning. Everything will be ready on time".

Conclusion: Understanding and resolving intra-role conflicts

Intra-role conflicts arise from different expectations and demands within a role. If the conflict situation is correctly recognized and understood, conflicts can be resolved quickly.


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Reviewed by Dr. med. Stefan Frädrich

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