ROLE CONFLICT, ROLE AMBIGUITY, JOB SATISFACTION, AND EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND OF COMMUNITY COLLEGE COUNSELORS IN NORTH AND SOUTH CAROLINA

by William P. Morris, Ph.D.

Introduction and Purpose

This research described below comes from a doctoral dissertation completed by the author in 2005 (Morris, W.P., 2005). The purpose of this study was to examine the levels of role conflict, role ambiguity, role congruence, and job satisfaction among counselors working in community colleges in the state of North Carolina and technical colleges in the state of South Carolina, and to determine whether there is a relationship between levels of role conflict, ambiguity, and congruence and job satisfaction. Technical colleges in South Carolina provide both general education components for transfer to four-year colleges and universities as well as terminal technical programs designed to prepare students for jobs in the work force and are the same type institutions that are called community colleges in most other states. This study also examined the relationship between role conflict, role ambiguity, role congruence, and job satisfaction and specific demographic characteristics, especially educational preparation. Finally, the research in this study sought to determine the current demographic characteristics, duties, and functions of community and technical college counselors in North Carolina and South Carolina. The research in this study borrowed some design features from a study done by Coll (1989, Coll & Rice, 1993) among community college counselors in Oregon.

Methodology

Two hundred sixty-two counselors were identified in the two states and mailed survey packets containing the Role Questionnaire (Rizzo, House, and Lirtzman, 1970), the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire, and a demographic questionnaire. Job Satisfaction is defined as the level of acceptability expressed by a person about various aspects of his/her job, as measured by a standardized instrument called the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ). The Role Questionnaire measures role ambiguity, role conflict, and role congruence. Role ambiguity is defined as the degree to which a person perceives clear information is available regarding the expectations associated with a role, as measured by a standardized instrument, the Role Questionnaire (RQ). Role conflict is defined as the degree to which a person perceives conflicting expectations associated with a role, as measured by a standardized instrument, the Role Questionnaire (RQ). Role congruence is the degree of combined role conflict and role ambiguity as measured by a standardized instrument, the Role Questionnaire (RQ). The Role Questionnaire was scored in such a way that high scores reflect role incongruity and low scores reflect role congruity. One hundred fifty packets were returned for a response rate of 57%. Response rate for North Carolina counselors was 55% and response rate for South Carolina counselors was 64%. Frequency and descriptive statistics, Pearson correlations, and regressions were used to analyze and compare the data.

Results

While the dissertation only discusses combined data from North and South Carolina, the demographic information presented here will be broken out by state. Role ambiguity, role conflict, and job satisfaction were found to be highly correlated with one another (p < .01). Statistically significant relationships were found between role conflict, role ambiguity, job satisfaction and several demographic characteristics, job duties, and educational backgrounds.

Demographics:
Gender: Male - 31%, Female - 69%.
SC: Male - 31%, Female - 69%.
NC: Male - 31%, Female - 69%.
Age: Mean age 46, Median age 48, Mode 60.
NC: Mean age 46, Median age 48, Mode 48.
SC: Mean age 45, Median age 49, Mode 51.
Years on Job: Mean 7.6, Median 4.8, Mode 2
NC: Mean 7.2, Median 4, Mode 2
SC: Mean 8.4, Median 5, Mode 1, 5
Years in Profession:
Mean 15, Median 13, Mode 7.
NC: Mean 14.9, Median 14, Mode 15.
SC: Mean 15.2, Median 12.5, Mode 7, 25.
Ethnicity: African American/Black 20.7%, Asian - .7%, Hispanic/Latino 2.0%, White/Caucasian 76.7%.
NC: African American/Black 13.7%, Asian - 1%, Hispanic/Latino 2.9%, White/Caucasian 82.4%.
SC: African American/Black 35.4%, White/Caucasian 64.6%.
Highest Degree Type: Bachelors 5.3%, Masters 90.7%, Education Specialist 1.3%, Doctorate 2.7%.
NC: Bachelors 5.9%, Masters 91.2%, Doctorate 2.9%.
SC: Bachelors 4.2%, Masters 89.6%, Education Specialist 4.2%, Doctorate 2.1%.
Major for Highest Degree
(34 different specific majors listed):
Counseling 58%, Student Personnel/Affairs/Administration 18%, Psychology 9%, Social Work 5%, Other 10%.
NC Majors
(29 different specific majors listed):
Counseling 65.7%, Student Personnel/Affairs/Administration 13.7%, Psychology 7%, Social Work 3%, Other 10%.
SC Majors
(24 different specific majors listed):
Counseling 41.7%, Student Personnel/Affairs/Administration 25%, Psychology 10.4%, Social Work 8.3%, Other 10.4x%.
Licensure/Certification: Some type 39%, LPC and/or NCC 31%.
NC: Some type 41.2%, LPC and/or NCC 35.3%.
SC: Some type 35.4%, LPC and/or NCC 25%.
Job Duties:
(mean hours per week)
Academic Advising 13.4
Administrative Tasks 6.0
Career Counseling 6.3
Personal Counseling 4.5
Disability Services 3.5
Other 3.4
Testing 2.5
Supervising 2.1
Staff Meetings 1.7
Researching 0.8
NC Job Duties:
(mean hours per week)
Academic Advising 13.4
Administrative Tasks 6.4
Career Counseling 6.0
Personal Counseling 4.3
Disability Services 3.1
Other 3.2
Testing 2.8
Supervising 2.2
Staff Meetings 1.7
Researching 0.8
SC Job Duties:
(mean hours per week)
Academic Advising 13.6
Administrative Tasks 5.2
Career Counseling 7.1
Personal Counseling 5.0
Disability Services 4.4
Other 3.8
Testing 1.9
Supervising 1.9
Staff Meetings 1.6
Researching 0.8
Preferred Job Duties Percentage desiring more or less time in particular duties:
Less time on administrative tasks 35.4%
More time for individual career counseling 32.7%
More time for personal counseling 34.7%
More time for group career counseling 29.3%
More time for research 26.7%
Less time for individual advising 21.3%
More time for group advising 22.7%
NC Preferred Job Duties Percentage desiring more or less time in particular duties:
Less time on administrative tasks 32.4%
More time for individual career counseling 28.4%
More time for personal counseling 56.9%
More time for group career counseling 27.5%
More time for research 28.4%
Less time for individual advising 24.5%
More time for group advising 20.6%
SC Preferred Job Duties Percentage desiring more or less time in particular duties:
Less time on administrative tasks 41.7%
More time for individual career counseling 41.7%
More time for personal counseling 50%
More time for group career counseling 33.3%
More time for research 22.9%
More time for individual advising 22.9%
More time for group advising 27.1%

Professional Membership and Conference Attendance:

62% belong to one or more professional organizations
73% attended a state, regional, or national conference in the last two years

NC Professional Membership and Conference Attendance:

63.7% belong to one or more professional organizations
74.5% attended a state, regional, or national conference in the last two years

SC Professional Membership and Conference Attendance:

64.6% belong to one or more professional organizations
70.8% attended a state, regional, or national conference in the last two years

Job Satisfaction:

Role Conflict, Role Ambiguity, and Role Incongruence:

Significant Relationships (.05 or greater) Between Instrument Scores and Demographic Variables:

There were no significant relationships between type of degree (bachelors, masters, etc.) and scores on any of the instruments, but having a major in psychology significantly predicted increased role ambiguity. There was a trend in mean scores and degree types: the lower the degree type (bachelors, masters, etc.), the higher the job satisfaction and the lower the role conflict and role ambiguity and vice versa. Having a degree in some type of counseling major predicted a desire for less time doing individual advising and more time for individual personal counseling. Having a degree in psychology predicted a desire for more time to do research. Having LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) or NCC (Nationally Certified Counselor) predicted a desire for less time in disability services and testing and more time in individual personal counseling.

References

Coll, K. M. (1989). A study of factors that contribute to job satisfaction and role congruence for

community college counselors. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Oregon State University.

Coll, K. M., & Rice, R. L. (1993). Role conflict among community college counselors. Community College

Review, 21(1), 58-67.

Morris, W. P. (2005). Role conflict, role ambiguity, job satisfcation, and educational background of

community college counselors in North and South Carolina. Unpublished doctoral dissertation,
University of South Carolina.

Rizzo, J. R., House, R. J., Lirtzman, S. I. (1970). Role conflict and ambiguity in complex

organizations. Administrative Science Quarterly, 15(2), 150-163.

Please direct any questions about this research to the author: morrisp@midlandstech.edu.