Friday, March 5, 2010

Chapter 10

In this chapter, the book talks about roles and the different sections. These sections include: role episodes, role overload, role conflict, and role ambiguity. The section that stood out the most to me is role overload. Role overload seems to be something that a lot of students seem to be feeling these days, especially college students. Role overload is defined as ‘the total sum of what role senders expect of the focal person far exceeds what he or she is able to do.’ I’ve noticed that this tends to happen a lot to us, especially during midterms and finals week. We, as students, are overwhelmed with having to study, hold a job, and commit to a club or sports team. The expected roles of us to be students, employees, and active participants in sports or a club sometimes exceed our limits of handling those responsibilities. On top of those roles, we also have a social life role to fill as well. In order to overcome or avoid role overload, students should better manage their time by weighing which roles are more important for that particular situation and time. It sounds easier said than done, but things like this take lots of practice and mistakes in order to manage it.

On a website titled, Problems at the Work-Life Interface: Role Overload, it gathered information about Canadians feelings of role overload in 1991 and 2001. In 1991, 42% of Canadians reported to feeling role overload. However, in 2001, that percentage jumped to 56%, showing a 6% increase. The sources of role overload were divided into two categories: emotional/physical fatigue, and feeling time-crunched. Emotional/physical fatigue creates role overload because the people are trying to hard to balance all the roles in their life. Feeling time-crunched occurs because people feel that they have too many things to do in such a short amount of time. This website pointed out an important idea because I’ve noticed that our society and culture has turned into one where time is so important that it feels like we never have enough of it. Because we feel like we don’t have enough of time, we spend more time working than resting which leads to emotional/physical fatigue. A lot of people want to get out of this time-crunched feeling but they’re too busy keeping up with everyone else. If this cycle were to change, it would have to start with individuals.

Works Cited
Problems at the Work-Life Interface: Role Overload. 24 December 2004. 5 March 2010 (


  1. It is very true that much is demanded of college students trying to fit into their various roles, and that role overload plays a big part. We must remember, however, that managing our time is crucial because role overload is only likely to increase as we progress through college and in finding a job. Thus, the importance of being happy with one's job is exemplified, and could play a part in mitigating the effects of role overload. If one is happy with their role, the effects of role overload will not be as extreme.

  2. Although I agree that role overload is tough, I think that more problems are caused by role conflict. With overload, one just needs to learn about time management and often times need to clear up their priorities. Where as with conflict, say sports and school, one needs to do less of one to fit the other in, causing them to never reach their full potential.

  3. Mark has a point. But I think a part of the overload has to do with the many opportunities that are offered today in comparison to the past. As we keep advancing forward with innovations, ideas, etc., new chances keep arising for us to take. The more we take, the more overloaded we become, the more time conflicts we experience, and the less time we have for ourselves.