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Role conflict, role ambiguity and ASCA functions as predictors of school counselor job satisfaction

Dissertation
Author: Annemarie Cervoni
Abstract:
Few studies have been conducted focusing on job satisfaction in school counselors. The purpose of this study was to explore the impact role conflict and role ambiguity had on job satisfaction among school counselors at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, as well as all levels combined. The impact the percentage of time spent on the American School Counselor Association recommended functions of school counselors (counseling, guidance, consultation, and coordination) (ASCA, 1990) and the percentage of time spent on other duties not falling under the ASCA areas had on job satisfaction was also explored. The Role Conflict and Role Ambiguity Scale and the Job Descriptive Index were administered to 590 school counselors. Role conflict and role ambiguity, as well as the percentage of time spent on counseling, large group guidance, consultation, coordination, and other duties, were all significant predictors of job satisfaction.

Role Conflict iii Table of Contents Page Acknowledgements ii List of Tables v List of Appendices vii Abstract viii Chapter I. Introduction 1 Background 1 History of the Counselor’s Role 2 Statement of the Problem 3 Purpose of the Study 10 Importance of the Study 12 Theoretical Framework 12 Limitations 15 Research Questions 15 II. Review of the Literature 17 Gender and Job Satisfaction 17 Theories of Job Satisfaction 18 Role Theory and Job Satisfaction 21 Job Satisfaction Among School Counselors 21 III. Method 32 Participants 32

Role Conflict iv Table of Contents continued Chapter Page III. Instrumentation 32 Procedures 36 Variables 36 Data Analysis and Research Questions 38 IV. Results 42 Preliminary Analysis 42 Primary Analysis 44 Research Question 1 44 Research Question 2 47 Research Question 3 49 Research Question 4 52 Research Question 5 55 V. Discussion 57 Summary of Findings 57 Implications for Theory 62 Implications for Practice 65 Limitations 66 Future Research 66 Tables 68 Appendices 86 References 96

Role Conflict v List of Tables Table Page 1 Means, Standard Deviations, and Intercorrelations of Demographic Variables and Job Satisfaction Variables for Elementary School Counselors 68

2 Means, Standard Deviations, and Intercorrelations of Demographic Variables and Job Satisfaction Variables for Middle School Counselors 69 3 Means, Standard Deviations, and Intercorrelations of Demographic Variables and Job Satisfaction Variables for High School Counselors 70 4 Means, Standard Deviations, and Intercorrelations of Demographic Variables and Job Satisfaction Variables for School Counselors at All Levels 71 5 Means, Standard Deviations, and Intercorrelations of Independent Variables and Job Satisfaction Variables 72 6 Means, Standard Deviations, and Intercorrelations of Independent Variables and Job Satisfaction Variables for Elementary School Counselors 73 7 Means, Standard Deviations, and Intercorrelations of Independent Variables and Job Satisfaction Variables for Middle School Counselors 74 8 Means, Standard Deviations, and Intercorrelations of Independent Variables and Job Satisfaction Variables for High School Counselors 75 9 Summary of Regression Analyses Predicting Satisfaction with the JIG, Work, Pay, Promotion, Supervision, and People for Elementary Counselors 76

10 Summary of Regression Analyses Predicting Satisfaction with the JIG, Work, Pay, Promotion, Supervision, and People for Middle School Counselors 77

11 Summary of Regression Analyses Predicting Satisfaction with the JIG, Work, Pay, Promotion, Supervision, and People for High School Counselors 78

12 Summary of Regression Analyses Predicting Satisfaction with the JIG, Work, Pay, Promotion, Supervision, and People for All School Counselors 79

13 Summary of Means and Standard Deviations of Role Conflict and Role Ambiguity Scores for Males and Females 80

14 Summary of Means and Standard Deviations of Job Satisfaction Scores for Male and Female Elementary School Counselors 81

Role Conflict vi 15 Summary of Means and Standard Deviations of Job Satisfaction Scores for Male and Female Middle School Counselors 82

16 Summary of Means and Standard Deviations of Job Satisfaction Scores for Male and Female High School Counselors 83

17 Summary of Means and Standard Deviations of Job Satisfaction Scores for Male and Female School Counselors at All Levels 84

18 Summary of Predictors of Satisfaction with the JIG, Work, Pay, Promotion, Supervision, and People for Elementary, Middle, High School, and School Counselors at All Levels 85

Role Conflict vii List of Appendices Appendix Page A. Email to School Counselors 86 B. Consent Letter 87 C. Demographic Questionnaire 88 D. Job Descriptive Index 91 E. Role Conflict and Ambiguity Questionnaire 94

Role Conflict viii Abstract Few studies have been conducted focusing on job satisfaction in school counselors. The purpose of this study was to explore the impact role conflict and role ambiguity had on job satisfaction among school counselors at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, as well as all levels combined. The impact the percentage of time spent on the American School Counselor Association recommended functions of school counselors (counseling, guidance, consultation, and coordination) (ASCA, 1990) and the percentage of time spent on other duties not falling under the ASCA areas had on job satisfaction was also explored. The Role Conflict and Role Ambiguity Scale and the Job Descriptive Index were administered to 590 school counselors. Role conflict and role ambiguity, as well as the percentage of time spent on counseling, large group guidance, consultation, coordination, and other duties, were all significant predictors of job satisfaction.

Role Conflict 1 Chapter 1 Introduction Background School counselors at all levels are faced with the challenge of serving students with a multitude of needs beyond academic and career choice. They must handle numerous duties, many of which do not fall under the traditional realm of school counseling services. Traditionally, guidance services were considered ancillary to instructional programs, with a primary focus on college counseling (Cunanan & Maddy-Bernstein, 1994). The actual tasks of school counselors have multiplied and counselors seem to be involved with, or even in charge of, nearly every aspect of school operation (Murray, 1995a). This has lead to a lack of role definition resulting in an inadequate use of counselors’ skills and talents, preventing them from meeting the needs of their students (Commission on Precollege & Guidance Counseling, 1986). Pressure on school counselors comes from a variety of directions. Administrators, teachers, students, and parents all have expectations of how counselors should function in schools. While counselors themselves share many of these expectations, the large quantity of them makes the expectations difficult to meet. In addition, principals and school counselors often perceive the role of the school counselor differently (Murray, 1995b). The primary purpose of this study is to explore the impact of role conflict and role ambiguity on job satisfaction among school counselors. The secondary purpose is to examine the impact of the percentage of time spent on the American School Counselor Association recommended functions of school counselors (counseling, large group guidance, consultation, coordination) (ASCA, 1990) on job satisfaction.

Role Conflict 2 History of the Counselors’ Role The school counseling profession stemmed from vocational guidance and the need to place people in the labor force in the early twentieth century (Kozinski, 1997). In 1908, Frank Parsons, known as the “Father of Guidance”, began work in Boston, Massachusetts helping high school students with career choices. Since then, the role of the school counselor has expanded exponentially. With an increase in responsibilities, the challenges facing counselors and the demands on their time continue to grow (Sears, 1993). In 1957, the National Defense Education Act was passed. This legislation gave school teachers the chance to return to school for re-training as school counselors (Kozinski, 1997). The counselor education programs were quickly assembled and the poor quality of the education provided was apparent. The emphasis of school counselors at the time was college placement, career planning, and transition issues. The enactment of Public Law 98-524, the Carl Perkins Vocational Education Act of 1984, increased opportunities for vocational training and employment for all persons, particularly individuals with disabilities (Omizo & Omizo, 1992). These acts, concerned with both the needs of the student and the labor market, served as an impetus for transition planning programs and the involvement of the school counselor. In 1991, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was updated to include transition services. Its earlier intent was to mandate education for all disabled children, by the state, in the least restrictive environment. Public Law 103-239, the School-to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994, was created to prepare students for employment and post-secondary education. With legislation advocating for vocational education, students with disabilities, and transition planning, the school counselor’s role has been in a constant state of change. Both the changing and growing role of the school counselor has inevitably led to increased role conflict and role ambiguity.

Role Conflict 3 The American School Counselor Association (ASCA) was founded in 1952 and has changed over the years in response to educational reform and the ever changing needs of students. According to ASCA, the role of the school counselor is to help all students in the areas of academic achievement, personal/social development, and career development. In 1966, in conjunction with the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, ASCA released a specific role statement related to the appropriate functioning of school counselors. Subsequent role statements were released in 1981, 1985, and 1990. The ASCA website (www.schoolcounselor.org ) maintains resources for school counselors, administrators, and parents which clearly define appropriate and inappropriate functions of school counselors, specifically, position statements related to the role of the school counselor on wide variety of topics including academic and career planning, bullying, character education, conflict resolution, discipline, family/parenting education, group counseling, peer helping, student recruitment, and test preparation programs. In addition, it describes the differences of elementary, middle, and high school counselors, as well as the benefits to schools of having school counselors at each level. Statement of the Problem In the past, a major problem in school guidance counseling has been that the role of the counselor had not been clearly defined by the profession, and thus there is confusion among the practitioners and those who supervise them (American Counseling Association, 1987). In 1990, the American School Counselor Association (ASCA, 1990) attempted to correct this by defining school counselors as specialists in human behavior and relationships who provide assistance to students through four primary interventions: counseling, large group guidance, consultation and coordination.

Role Conflict 4 Counseling is a confidential relationship which the counselor conducts with students individually and in small groups to help them resolve or cope constructively with their problems and developmental concerns. Large group guidance is a planned, developmental program of guidance activities designed to foster students’ academic, career, and personal/social development. It is provided for all students through collaborative effort by counselors and teachers. Consultation is a collaborative partnership in which the counselor works with parents, teachers, administrators, school psychologists, social workers, visiting teachers, medical professionals and community health personnel in order to plan and implement strategies to help students be successful in the education system. Coordination is a leadership process in which the counselor helps organize, manage, and evaluate the school counseling program. The counselor assists parents in obtaining needed services for their children through a referral and follow-up process and serves as liaison between the school and community agencies so that they may collaborate in efforts to help students (ASCA, 1999, ¶2). The responsibilities of the school counselor, however, continue to multiply (Murray, 1995a). Currently, many of the core responsibilities of school counselors include crisis counseling, academic advisement, vocational planning, classroom teaching, grief counseling, serving as a parental liaison, drug and alcohol counseling, college planning, master scheduling, student scheduling, school mediating, individual counseling, and group counseling (Hutchinson, Barrick, & Groves, 1986; Partin, 1993; Wilkinson, 1998). The role of school counselors has expanded to include such functions as clerical duties, administrative duties, curriculum development, testing, advising teachers, providing AIDS education, providing English as a Second Language (ESL) services, record-keeping, and disciplinary functions (Commission on

Role Conflict 5 Precollege Guidance and Counseling, 1986; Hartman, 1988; Henderson & LaForge, 1989; Hutchinson et al., 1986; Keys, 1989; Murray, 1995a; Partin, 1993; Russell, 1989; Wilkinson, 1998). In addition, school counselors must also function as mental health counselors and have knowledge in the following areas: DSM-IVR, managed care, changing structure of assessing services, child and family welfare systems, court system and system of juvenile services, residential programs, mental health interventions in the school, mental health assessments, individual crisis intervention, large group crisis intervention, program planning for clinically needy children not seeing a therapist, family systems, special education, new behavioral syndromes, mediation techniques, educational skills, behavior managements skills, alternative living styles, model programs, staff mental health needs, referral skills, multicultural counseling, collaborative consultation, and short term intervention (Lockhart & Keys, 1998). Cormany and Brantley (1996) recommended that school counselors become more involved in discipline, curriculum development, and the education of parents and staff on issues and trends relevant to the student body’s welfare. In addition, they suggested an increased role for school counselors in the implementation of conflict resolution or peer mediation programs, development of closer ties with business and industry, and the use of technology in counseling sessions. Expanding the school counselor role helps to meet the needs of the changing student population as well as to maintain job security for school counselors themselves. Involvement in so many areas makes the school counselor indispensable. They noted the biggest challenges to school counselors as simply surviving; making use of technology; meeting the needs of a changing student population; addressing complex family situations; dealing with community groups opposing such program components as values, decision-making, self-esteem, and

Role Conflict 6 outcome-based education; and communicating with both the in-school and out-of-school communities. Research consistently shows that school counselors’ job descriptions are steadily getting longer. In a study by Hutchinson et al. (1986), counselors reported spending most of their time doing what they actually thought they should be doing: guidance related activities (group counseling, career planning, and classroom guidance). However, they also spent a great deal of time on activities such as scheduling, testing, record keeping and other non-counseling related activities. School counselors at the high school level are often criticized for allotting too much time to the college admissions process while neglecting other important obligations. In referencing counselors’ role with regards to the college admissions process, Ragsdale (1987) pointed out that a major part of counselors’ jobs has become just getting through mail each day and finding a way to store the information contained in it for future reference. They are also encouraged by college admissions people and their administrators alike to attend breakfasts, workshops, and informational sessions sponsored by colleges. This cuts into time that could be used for students in need of personal counseling services. It has been recommended that school counselors should become specifically career- focused counselors and that their other duties be eliminated (VonVillas, 1995). Staley and Carey (1997) agree that school counselors should focus efforts on career awareness and helping students understand who they are in relation to the world of work. Von Villas (1995) suggested that adjustment counselors, social workers, or psychologists, who are better prepared for addressing social or emotional maladjustment, should manage students’ personal needs. He also stated that successful career development programs cannot be implemented into the current

Role Conflict 7 system which tends to assign an excessive student load, sometimes as many as 300 students to 1 counselor, although ASCA recommends a ratio of 250 students to 1 counselor. The passing of the School-to-Work Opportunities Act of 1994 and other federal legislation spurred interest in developing comprehensive transition programs in schools. The school counselor, in particular, has an important role in facilitating the transition; however, in most school districts, their role in this process is not clearly defined. Although there may be a number of barriers inhibiting the implementation of new career development programs and the change in the role definition of the school counselor, the primary barrier is often the simple inertia of the school as a system (Napierowski & Parsons, 1995). Schools, like other organizations, resist change. The school counselor is often seen as falling under the role of the “quasi administrator” rather than as incorporating new programs to enhance students’ post-secondary opportunities. School counselors in a “quasi-administrator” role often assist principals in the performance of their administrative duties (Napierkowski & Parsons, 1995). A major portion of their time is spent completing administrative and/or clerical tasks such as maintaining records, doing paperwork, and supervising students. Kareck (1998) noted to the time needed for organizing and distributing standardized tests, building schedules, doing registration, attending meetings, organizing cumulative folders, etc. These responsibilities seem to have fallen to counselors either by choice, by assignment, or by chance (Mustaine, Pappalardo, & Wyrick, 1996).The perception that counselors have a more administrative role with administrative support is strengthened by the fact that guidance offices are typically located in or near the main school office (Partin, 1993).

Role Conflict 8 Counselors have limited time and resources at a time when the demands placed on them by society are probably greater than ever (Ragsdale, 1987). It is apparent to counselors who are deluged with college and scholarship recommendations, schedule changes, special education forms, and stacks of phone messages to return, that something must change if they are to find adequate time to counsel students (Thomas & Hutchinson, 1992). Partin (1993) indicated that counselors do spend a good portion of their time counseling; however, they do not spend as much time counseling as they would like. Paperwork, scheduling, and other administrative tasks prevent them from allotting more time to individual and group counseling. Hopper and Schroder (1974) and Morgan and Trachtenberg (1974) reported that 11.10% of a school guidance counselor’s time is spent on clerical activities. This study will examine the impact the percentage of time spent on various duties has on overall job satisfaction and specific aspects of job satisfaction. The bulk of the school counselors’ time, nearly 30%, is spent doing individual counseling followed by guidance activities unrelated to counseling (Partin, 1993). At least half of this is educational counseling, which is likely related to their class scheduling duties. Wilkinson (1988) reported approximately 75% of counselor time was spent on activities that directly or indirectly affected students though not necessarily related to the objectives of the counseling program. Counselors at all levels view paperwork and an increase in testing responsibilities as their biggest time robbers (Davis, 2005; Hardesty & Dillard, 1994; Partin, 1993). At the elementary level, school counselor functions should be appropriate to the developmental stages and unique characteristics of elementary students and the elementary school setting (Coll & Freeman, 1997). ASCA describes the role of the elementary school counselors as providing education, prevention, early identification, and intervention to help all children achieve academic success (ASCA,

Role Conflict 9 1990). Elementary school counselors perform more consultation, and coordination functions; less administrative-like functions; and work more with families, teachers, and agencies than with individual students, than do their middle and high school counselor counterparts (Hardesty & Dillard, 1994). They however substitute for teachers more than middle and high school counselors (Partin, 1993) and participate more in assessment activities (Wilgus & Shelley, 1988). At the middle school level, school counselors work to build programs based on the characteristics of the middle level student, the interrelationship of home and school life, and the importance of peer and adult relationships to the early adolescent (McGee & Fauble-Erickson, 1995). ASCA (1990) states that middle school counselors enhance the learning process and promote academic achievement by creating a caring, supportive climate and atmosphere whereby young adolescents can achieve academic success. The most time consuming activities at the middle school level are suicide prevention and relationship counseling (Hardesty & Dillard, 1994). Time spent working on discipline related issues is greater at the middle school level, than at the elementary school or high school levels. At the high school level, school counselors are asked to assume a greater role in the lives of their students and their students’ families related to parenting, substance abuse prevention, teen pregnancy programs, suicide education, test-taking programs, and career and post-secondary planning (Sears, 1993). According to ASCA (1990), high school counselors help students to achieve optimal personal growth, acquire positive social skills and values, set appropriate career goals and realize full academic potential to become productive, contributing members of the world community. Paperwork, scheduling, and administrative tasks prevent high school counselors from spending more time in direct service activities (Partin, 1993).

Role Conflict 10 As responsibilities increase to include those in the administrative, clerical or teaching realm, and time spent with students decreases, job satisfaction of school counselors may be impacted. It is important to research job satisfaction among school counselors as it is necessary to maintain the continuous and high quality services they are expected to provide to children (Brown, Hohenshil, & Brown, 1988; Spector, 1997). School counselors at different levels will be studied to assess possible differential impact. Purpose of the Study Research consistently indicates that role conflict and role ambiguity affect job satisfaction (Fisher & Gitelson, 1983; Jackson & Schuler, 1985; Rizzo, House, & Lirtzman, 1970; Sawyer, 1991; Schaubroeck, Cotton, & Jennings, 1989; Van Sell, Brief, & Schuler, 1981; Wolverton & Wolverton, 1996). The primary purpose of this study was to explore the effect of role conflict and role ambiguity on job satisfaction among school counselors. A secondary purpose of this investigation was to examine the impact of the percentage of time spent on the ASCA recommended functions of school counselors (counseling, large group guidance, consultation and coordination) (ASCA, 1990) on job satisfaction. Finally, as the research on gender and job satisfaction is inconsistent, this study looked at the impact gender has on job satisfaction, role conflict, and role ambiguity. Few studies have been conducted focusing on job satisfaction in school counselors and most are well over ten years old. Furthermore, the results have been inconsistent. Jones (1991) and Vandegrift and Wright (1997) reported that school counselors are satisfied with their jobs overall, while Stickel (1991) demonstrated low job satisfaction among counselors. Thompson and Powers (1983) indicated a negative relationship between both role conflict and role ambiguity, and job satisfaction. Similarly, Gade and Houdek (1993) reported that lower job

Role Conflict 11 satisfaction was associated with role overload and role conflict. Jones (1991), however, found that despite role overload, counselors are generally satisfied with their jobs. Hansen (1967) established that maintaining staff relationships and providing guidance services to individual students were the activities that provided the most satisfaction, while Dietz (1972) found that activities related to placement and public relations were the most satisfying. Additionally, research consistently indicates a negative relationship between role conflict and role ambiguity, and job satisfaction. Significant negative relationships between job satisfaction and both role conflict and role ambiguity have been found in occupations including managerial, technical, maintenance, administrative, administrative support, and service positions (Fisher & Gitelson, 1983; Jackson & Schuler, 1985; Rizzo, House, & Lirtzman, 1970; Sawyer, 1991; Van Sell, Brief, &Schuler, 1981; Wolverton & Wolverton, 1996). The current study addressed the impact of role conflict and role ambiguity on job satisfaction in school counselors. This relationship was explored only once in 1983 in a study by Thompson and Powers, and is now outdated. The current study will add to the body of literature as it looked at the impact of role conflict and role ambiguity on job satisfaction in school counselors at all levels. In addition, it probed deeper by exploring the effects on global job satisfaction, as well as effects on more specific types of job satisfaction including satisfaction with work, pay, supervision, people, and promotion opportunities. The current study also explored how the alignment of school counselors’ actual roles to the ASCA recommended school counselor functions of counseling, large group guidance, consultation and coordination impacted job satisfaction. This has never been investigated. Additionally, the impact of gender on job satisfaction, role conflict, and role ambiguity was examined.

Role Conflict 12 Importance of the Study It is significant to investigate job satisfaction of school counselors for a variety of reasons. First, school counselors work with children and have a tremendous potential to influence them. Their level of job satisfaction impacts their effectiveness with their students (Brown et al., 1988; Spector, 1997). Second, school counselors experience role conflict and role ambiguity which may cause individuals to experience stress, become dissatisfied, become anxious, and perform less effectively (Kahn, Wolfe, Quinn, Snoek, & Rosenthal, 1964). Third, the results of this study could serve to promote change in the role of the school counselor from their actual role to that recommended by ASCA and to encourage programs to prepare, orient, and prevent burnout in school counselors. Finally, the current study will fill a gap in the literature related to school counselor job satisfaction. The impact role conflict and role ambiguity have on specific types job satisfaction among school counselors at all levels will be explored. Furthermore, the impact the percentage of time school counselors spend on the ASCA recommended school counselor functions of counseling, large group guidance, consultation and coordination has on job satisfaction will be examined. This has never been investigated. Additionally, it will provide a more updated look at school counselor job satisfaction as a bulk of the literature on the topic is well over ten years old. Theoretical Framework Organizational role theory states that roles are the result of the expectations of others about appropriate behaviors in a particular position (Kahn et al., 1964). This theory of role dynamics asserts that each individual in an organization occupies a particular point in the total set of ongoing relationships and behaviors. The “role episode model” is the process that describes how role expectations are communicated by the role sender to a focal person or role

Role Conflict 13 receiver. To summarize the model, a role sender communicates a set of expectations to the role receiver. The role receiver is either compliant or hostile. The response of the role receiver in turn influences any subsequent role-sending by the role sender. The role episode is abstracted from a process that is cyclic and ongoing (Kahn et al., 1964). Role conflict is defined as the simultaneous occurrence of two or more role pressures so that the compliance with one would make it more difficult to comply with the other (Kahn et al., 1964). When the expectations of an individual are inconsistent, a type of role conflict, he or she will experience stress, become dissatisfied, and perform less effectively (Kahn et al., 1964). Role ambiguity is the degree to which clear information is lacking regarding the expectation associated with a role (Kahn et al., 1964). The lack of necessary information given to an individual, a type of role ambiguity, will lead to the person to become dissatisfied, anxious, and to perform less effectively (Kahn et al., 1964). Research consistently suggests that role conflict and role ambiguity are negatively correlated with job satisfaction (Fisher & Gitelson, 1983; Jackson & Schuler, 1985; Rizzo et al., 1970; Schaubroeck et al., 1989; Van Sell et al., 1981), in a variety of occupations including managerial, technical, maintenance, and administrative support positions. Rizzo et al. (1970) identified four types of role conflict. First, intra-role conflict occurs when there is a discrepancy between internal values and the defined role behavior. Described by Van Sell et al. (1981) as person-role conflict, intra-role conflict exists when there is incompatibility between expectations of the role incumbent and expectations associated with the position. For example, a school counselor who views his or her primary role as the student advocate, and is expected to participate in the discipline process may experience intra-role conflict.

Role Conflict 14 Second, intra-sender conflict occurs when there is a discrepancy between time, resources, or capabilities and the defined role behavior (Rizzo et al., 1970). In intra-sender conflict, there is an incompatible expectation from a single role sender (Van Sell et al., 1981). This may be experienced when a school counselor is directed by his or supervisor to continue, create, or implement programs with limited or no funds. Third, inter-role conflict occurs when there are several roles for the same person that required different behavior (Rizzo et al., 1970). Inter-role conflict exists when there are incompatible role pressures on a person who has a variety of positions (Van Sell et al., 1981). A school counselor has an administrative position may experience inter-role conflict. Finally, inter-sender conflict occurs when there are conflicting expectations as a result of incompatible policies, incompatible standards of evaluation, or conflicting requests (Rizzo et al., 1970). Inter-sender conflict is a result of incompatible expectations from a multiple role senders (Van Sell et al., 1981). School counselors may experience inter-sender conflict when administrators, teachers, and parents have different ideas of how school counselors should be working with students. Additionally, Van Sell et al. (1981) identified role overload as a fifth type of role conflict. Role-overload may occur in school counselors when they cannot meet the demands of their job in a reasonable amount of time. The first type of role conflict, intra-role or person-role, is an internal conflict for the role incumbent. The other types of conflict are experienced as a result of a role that is sent to the role incumbent. Less researched is the concept of role ambiguity. Rizzo et al. (1970) defined role ambiguity as the predictability of the outcome or responses to one’s behavior, and either the existence or clarity of a behavioral requirement. Van Sell et al. (1981) conceptualized role

Role Conflict 15 ambiguity as the expectations associated with a role, the methods for fulfilling the role, and the consequences of role performance. School counselors may experience role ambiguity when they are unsure of their actual duties or the authority they have within the school. For the purposes of this study, organizational role theory will provide a framework for understanding the relationship between role conflict, role ambiguity and job satisfaction among elementary, middle and high school counselors. More specifically, organizational theory will assist in explaining the impact role conflict and role ambiguity have on global job satisfaction, as well as satisfaction with work, pay, supervision, people, and promotion opportunities among school counselors at all levels. Limitations There are several limitations to this study which should be considered. First, the sample of school counselors may be problematic. The web-based nature of the study may have excluded counselors who do not have access to a computer and deterred counselors who are not proficient on the computer. Because counselors were solicited through various school counselor professional organizations, those counselors who are not members of professional organizations did not participate. Only employed school counselors were invited to partake. Second, the data was based on self-reports from counselors, which may be inaccurate. Lastly, because of the voluntary nature of the studies, counselors that chose to participate may have had strong opinions they wanted to voice. Research Questions This study addressed the following research questions: 1) How well do the following variables predict job satisfaction among elementary school counselors: role conflict, role ambiguity, percentage of time spent on counseling duties,

Full document contains 115 pages
Abstract: Few studies have been conducted focusing on job satisfaction in school counselors. The purpose of this study was to explore the impact role conflict and role ambiguity had on job satisfaction among school counselors at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, as well as all levels combined. The impact the percentage of time spent on the American School Counselor Association recommended functions of school counselors (counseling, guidance, consultation, and coordination) (ASCA, 1990) and the percentage of time spent on other duties not falling under the ASCA areas had on job satisfaction was also explored. The Role Conflict and Role Ambiguity Scale and the Job Descriptive Index were administered to 590 school counselors. Role conflict and role ambiguity, as well as the percentage of time spent on counseling, large group guidance, consultation, coordination, and other duties, were all significant predictors of job satisfaction.