Role Ambiguity in Voluntary Sport Organizations

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Jesse Sakires Government of Saskatchewan

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Alison Doherty University of Western Ontario

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Katie Misener University of Western Ontario

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This study examined perceptions and correlates of role ambiguity among sport administrators in voluntary sport organizations. Building on the seminal work of Kahn, Wolfe, Quinn, Snoek, and Rosenthal (1964), a multidimensional measure of role ambiguity in the organizational setting was developed for this purpose. The sample consisted of 79 paid staff and 143 volunteer board members from provincial voluntary sport organizations. Respondents completed an online questionnaire that included items pertaining to role ambiguity, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, effort, and demographic variables including age, gender, position, organization tenure, and position tenure. Preliminary support was found for a three-dimensional model of role ambiguity consisting of scope of responsibilities ambiguity, mean-sends knowledge ambiguity, and performance outcomes ambiguity. Role ambiguity was negatively associated with age, job tenure, and organization tenure, with more years of experience reflecting greater role clarity. Greater role ambiguity was also associated with lower levels of satisfaction, organizational commitment, and effort. In addition, ambiguity pertaining to scope of responsibilities was the primary predictor of both satisfaction and organizational commitment, while performance outcomes ambiguity and means-ends knowledge ambiguity significantly predicted effort. Implications for the management of role ambiguity in voluntary sport organizations, and the merits of a multidimensional approach to understanding this phenomenon, are discussed.

Sakires is with the Dept. of Tourism, Parks, Culture, and Sport, Government of Saskatchewan, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. Doherty and Misener are with the School of Kinesiology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.

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