Intrapersonal Conflict: Types, Sources, Strategies, Examples

what is intrapersonal conflict

Organizational conflict was classified as intrapersonal, interpersonal, intragroup, and intergroup based on levels. The different levels describe the nature, dynamics, sources, and management of conflict. Psychologists have studied conflict at the intrapersonal level extensively.

They define conflict as “a situation in which a person is motivated to engage in two or more mutually exclusive activities” (Murray, 1968; see also Reichers, 1986; Bazerman, Tenbrunsel, Wade-Berizoni, 1998).

What is Intrapersonal Conflict?

Intrapersonal conflict occurs when there is incompatibility or inconsistency among an individual’s cognitive elements, [which] implies that a new cognitive element is at variance with a prior explanation or expectation.

Thus, intrapersonal conflict reflects a challenge to a person’s basis for prediction and control, resulting in greater uncertainty.”

An individual is in an intrapersonal conflict if he or she has difficulty making a decision because of uncertainty or if he or she is pushed or pulled in opposite directions, meaning the alternatives are both attractive and unattractive.

Each organizational member is required to face the challenge of coping with this type of conflict almost every day. Kurt Lewin’s (1948) field theory falls into this category. He conceptualized conflict as a situation where oppositely directed, simultaneous forces of about equal strength occur in a person.

Types of Intrapersonal Conflict

According to Lewin (1948), there are three types of intrapersonal conflict. Following is a discussion of these three types:

Approach-Approach Conflict

Such conflict occurs when a person has to choose between two attractive alternatives.

A manager is confronted with an approach-approach conflict if he or she has to recommend one of two subordinates for promotion who are equally competent for the position. A job seeker who has two attractive job offers has to cope with this conflict.

Approach-Avoidance Conflict

This occurs when a person has to deal with a situation that possesses both positive as well as negative aspects, that is when a person feels similar degrees of attraction and repulsion toward a goal or competing goals.

A faculty member may be in this type of conflict if he or she wants to join a top school where the prospect of tenure is uncertain.

Avoidance-Avoidance Conflict

This type of conflict occurs when each of the competing alternatives possesses negative consequences; that is, they are equally repulsive.

A manager will be in this type of conflict if he or she has to decide between accepting a salary cut or quitting his or her job. The person is possibly distressed in his or her attempt to decide upon the lesser of the two evils.

Perceived incompatibilities or incongruencies frequently occur when an organizational participant is required to perform a task that does not match his or her expertise, interests, goals, and values.

Such a conflict also occurs if there is a significant mismatch between the role that a person expects to perform and the role that is demanded of the person by the organization.

The latter has been classified as role conflict by some researchers (e.g., Kahn, Wolfe, Quinn, Smoak, & Rosenthal, 1964; Rizzo, House, & Lirtzman, 1970). For our purposes, role conflict is a part of intrapersonal conflict.

Role and Role Conflict in Intrapersonal Conflict

The concepts of role and role conflict have been developed by researchers in several disciplines. Since a number of studies have been conducted on role conflict, a considerable part of this chapter is devoted to explaining the nature of role and role conflict.

Role

Common to most definitions of role is the view that an individual behaves with reference to the expectations that others have about the way he or she should behave.

Generally, this term is utilized to represent the behavior and attitudes expected of the occupant of a given position or status. Conway and Feigert (1976) suggest at least three uses of the term.

  1. First, the role is used to mean a normative status that includes the behavior, attitudes, and values attributed by society to a person occupying a given position.
  2. Second, the role is used to mean an individual’s conceptualization of his or her situation with reference to his or her and others’ positions in society.
  3. Third, the role is used to refer to the behavior of a person occupying a social position.
    • Role Identity: Role identity means certain attitudes and behaviors consistent with a role.
    • Role Perception: An individual’s view of how he or she is supposed to act in a given situation.
    • Role Expectations: How others believe a person should act in a given situation.

Role Conflict

This type of conflict occurs when a role occupant is required to perform two or more roles that present incongruent, contradictory, or even mutually exclusive activities.

Role conflict was defined by Pandey and Kumar (1997) as “a state of mind or experience or perception of the role incumbent arising out of the simultaneous occurrence of two or more role expectations such that compliance with one would make compliance with the other(s) more difficult or even impossible.”

Kahn et al. (1964) conducted a nationwide study on role conflict and ambiguity. The study involved a survey of 725 subjects representing male wage and salary workers in the United States during 1961 and an intensive series of case studies of 53 selected from six industrial locations.

The researchers defined role conflict as “the simultaneous occurrence of two (or more) sets of pressures such that compliance with one would make more difficult compliance with the other” (Kahn et al., 1964) and further identified four distinct types of role conflict.

Intra-sender Conflict

This type of conflict occurs when a role sender requires a role receiver (i.e., the focal person) to perform contradictory or inconsistent roles.

For example, a role sender may request the role receiver to do something that cannot be done without violating a rule, yet the role sender attempts to enforce the rule.

Inter-sender Conflict

A role receiver experiences this type of conflict if the role behavior demanded by one role sender is incongruent with the role behavior demanded by another role sender.

A person who often experiences role conflict, for example, is a foreman, who receives instruction from a general foreman that may be inconsistent with the needs and expectations of the workers under the former.

Inter-role Conflict

This type of conflict occurs when an individual occupies two or more roles whose expectations are inconsistent.

A corporation president is expected, in that role, to take part in social engagements to promote the image of the corporation. This may be in conflict with his or her role as a parent, in which he or she is expected to spend more time with his or her children to be an ideal parent.

Intra-role (Person-Role) Conflict

This type of role conflict occurs when the role requirements are incongruent with the focal person’s attitudes, values, and professional behavior.

For example, intra-role conflict occurs when an organizational member is required to enter into price-fixing conspiracies that are not congruent with his or her ethical standards.

Role Overload and Underload Conflict

The four types of role conflict discussed above may lead to another complex form of conflict called role overload. It “involves a kind of person-role conflict and is perhaps best regarded as a complex, emergent type combining aspects of inter-sender and person-role conflicts” (Kahn et al., 1964).

This occurs when an organizational member is required to perform a number of appropriate roles sent by different role senders, which, taken as a set, are too much to be accomplished by him or her.

Role overload can be classified as quantitative and qualitative. French and Caplan (1972) originally conceptualized quantitative and qualitative role overload as specific types of role conflict.

The former refers to situations in which role occupants are required to perform more work than they can within a specific time period. The latter refers to situations in which role occupants believe they do not possess the skills or competence necessary to perform an assignment.

Role overload is quite prevalent in organizations. Managers particularly experience quantitative overload because they work under continuous time pressure.

Because of this, they set up priorities and perform the roles that they consider more important than others. A large number of managers deal with this problem by working overtime.

While role overload is a significant problem in contemporary organizations, role underload is also another problem that organizations have to deal with.

Two types of role underload are quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative underload refers to a situation where employees do not have much work to do, and, as a result, they spend part of their time doing very little work.

Qualitative underload refers to “a lack of mental stimulation that accompanies many routine, repetitive jobs” (Green berg & Baron, 1997).

Role Ambiguity

A concept closely related to role conflict is role ambiguity. It refers to the lack of clarity in understanding what expectations or prescriptions exist for a given role.

An organizational member requires information about the expectations of his or her role, the means of achieving the role, and the consequences of performing the role. Role ambiguity occurs when the information either does not exist or is not properly communicated if it does exist (Kahn et al., 1964).

It is interesting to note that Peterson et al.’s (1995) 21-nation study reported lower role ambiguity in Asian and African countries (which are high on power distance and low on individualism) than in many Western countries (which are low in power distance and high in individualism).

This suggests that national culture influences the perception of role ambiguity.

Examples of Role Conflict

Example#1: Claim Approval Dilemma

Background

Sarah is a claims adjuster at a reputable insurance company. She has been with the company for several years and is known for her integrity and dedication to her job. Sarah has always believed in doing what’s right for the policyholders and ensuring that they get the compensation they deserve.

The Conflict

One day, Sarah receives a claim from a policyholder, Mr. Thompson, who has suffered significant damage to his home due to a natural disaster. The claim amount is substantial.

As Sarah reviews the claim details, she finds some discrepancies in the documentation. There are certain repair estimates that seem inflated, and some of the damages listed don’t align with the photos provided.

Sarah is torn. On one hand, she understands the emotional and financial distress Mr. Thompson must be going through, especially after losing so much in the disaster. She empathizes with him and wants to approve the claim to help him rebuild his life.

On the other hand, her professional integrity and the company’s guidelines suggest that she should investigate the discrepancies further, which could lead to a partial claim approval or even a denial.

Intrapersonal Conflict

Sarah is experiencing an internal struggle:

  1. Empathy vs. Professional Duty: She empathizes with the policyholder’s situation and wants to help. However, her professional duty requires her to ensure that claims are legitimate and within the company’s guidelines.
  2. Integrity vs. Compassion: Sarah values her integrity and believes in doing what’s right. Approving a claim with discrepancies might compromise her integrity. Yet, her compassionate side wants to provide relief to the distressed policyholder.
  3. Fear of Consequences: If she approves the claim without further investigation and the discrepancies are later discovered, it could have repercussions for her career. Conversely, if she denies or reduces the claim and it turns out to be legitimate, it could harm the company’s reputation and her relationship with policyholders.

Resolution

Sarah decides to discuss the discrepancies with Mr. Thompson, seeking clarification on the estimates and damages listed.

She also consults with her supervisor, explaining her concerns and seeking guidance. After a thorough review and obtaining additional documentation, Sarah is able to make an informed decision that aligns with both her professional responsibilities and her personal values.

Example#2: Feature Release Dilemma

Background

Alex is a product manager at a growing SaaS company that offers a cloud-based project management tool. The company prides itself on delivering high-quality features that address user needs and enhance the overall user experience.

The Conflict

The development team has been working on a highly anticipated feature for the past few months. This feature, based on user feedback and market research, is expected to give the company a competitive edge in the market. The release date has been announced, and marketing campaigns are in full swing.

However, a week before the scheduled release, during the final testing phase, Alex discovers that the feature has some bugs that could potentially compromise user data security. The development team believes they can fix the bugs, but it would mean delaying the release by at least two weeks.

Alex is in turmoil. On one hand, releasing the feature on time would please stakeholders, maintain the company’s reputation for timely deliveries, and capitalize on the marketing momentum.

On the other hand, releasing a potentially flawed feature could jeopardize user trust, data security, and the company’s reputation in the long run.

Intrapersonal Conflict

Alex grapples with several internal struggles:

  1. Reputation vs. Integrity: Launching on time would uphold the company’s reputation for punctuality, but at the potential cost of compromising on product integrity.
  2. Short-term Gain vs. Long-term Trust: A timely release could lead to immediate revenue boosts and positive press. However, if the security flaw is discovered later, it could lead to a loss of user trust, which is much harder to regain.
  3. Stakeholder Pressure vs. User Trust: Stakeholders are pushing for a timely release to see a return on investment, but Alex knows that the company’s success hinges on user trust.

Resolution

After much introspection, Alex decides to prioritize user trust and data security. He communicates the situation transparently to both the stakeholders and the user community, explaining the reasons for the delay and the company’s commitment to delivering a secure and reliable product.

The stakeholders, while initially disappointed, appreciate Alex’s commitment to the company’s long-term success and reputation. The users commend the company for its transparency and dedication to security.

Consequences of Role Conflict

A number of studies have attempted to relate role conflict to personal and organizational outcomes. Kahn et al. (1964) concluded from their study that “the emotional costs of role conflict for the focal person include low job satisfaction, low confidence in the organization, and a high degree of job-related tension.

A very frequent behavioral response to role conflict is withdrawal or avoidance of those who are seen as creating the conflict” (p. 380). Role ambiguity was found to be as prevalent as role conflict, and the consequences are similar.

Role conflict has been found to be positively related to job dissatisfaction, lack of job involvement and organizational commitment, tension and anxiety, intent to leave the job, lack of confidence in the organization, and inability to influence decision-making (Behrman & Perreault, 1984; Brief & Aldag, 1976; Fisher & Gitelson, 1983; House & Rizzo, 1972; Jackson & Schuler, 1985; Johnson & Stinson, 1975; Miles, 1975; Miles & Perreault, 1976; Rizzo et al., 1970; Sohi, 1996).

A recent study in India found person-role conflict, but not within-role and interrole conflicts, to be negatively associated with job involvement.

The three subscales of role conflict were positively associated with organizational conflict (intergroup, intragroup, intrapersonal conflicts) but negatively associated with role efficacy-role making role centering, and role linking (Pandey & Kumar, 1997).

Several studies have reported deleterious effects of role conflict and role ambiguity on the job performance of organizational members (e.g., Kahn & Byosi-ere, 1992; McGrath, 1976; Sohi, 1996). A recent study by Fried, Ben-David, Tiegs, Anital, and Yeverechyahu (1998) questioned the independence of role conflict and role ambiguity with respect to their relations to job performance.

Their data indicated that role conflict and ambiguity have an interactive effect (role conflict x role ambiguity) on the supervisory ratings of job performance.

Thompson and Werner (1997) reported negative relationships between role conflict and the three dimensions of organizational citizenship behavior (interpersonal helping, personal industry, and individual initiative).

A study by Neterneyer, Johnston, and Burton (1990), in a structural equations framework, shows that role conflict and role ambiguity may influence the intent to leave a job indirectly through other variables, such as job satisfaction and organizational commitment.

Sales (1969) investigated the consequences of role overload and found that it can contribute to the cause of coronary disease. The studies cited deal only with the negative or dysfunctional aspects of role conflict.

However, a study by Babin and Boles (1996), which used a structural equations model, reported a positive relationship between role conflict and performance in retail service providers.

Unfortunately, these studies (with the exception of the Babin & Boles study) did not attempt to investigate the functional aspects of role conflict that can enhance individual and/or organizational effectiveness. Implicit in these reported studies is the notion that role conflict is dysfunctional and should be reduced or eliminated.

Although several studies have found adverse effects of role perceptions on a number of attitudinal, behavioral, and psychosomatic outcomes, the relationship between role conflict and organizational effectiveness has yet to be established.

Two major problems are associated with the studies on role conflict and individual and organizational effectiveness. These are the failure to control the factors, other than role conflict, that affect organizational effectiveness and the failure to develop valid measures of organizational effectiveness.

Organizational conflict must not necessarily be reduced or eliminated but managed to increase organizational effectiveness.

Managing Intrapersonal Conflict

The management of intrapersonal conflict involves aligning individual goals and role expectations with the needs of the task and role demands to optimize the attainment of individual and organizational goals. It has been suggested that conflict management involves the diagnosis and intervention in conflict.

The following is a discussion on the diagnosis and intervention in intrapersonal conflict.

Diagnosis of Intrapersonal Conflict

The diagnosis of intrapersonal conflict can be performed through self-reporting, observation, and interview methods. The ROCI-I uses self-reporting to measure intrapersonal conflict among organizational members.

Rizzo et al. (1970) designed a questionnaire frequently used in organizational studies to measure role conflict and role ambiguity. They used self-reports to assess incompatibility and inconsistency in the requirements of an individual’s role, measuring role conflict and ambiguity, respectively.

Tracy and Johnson (1981) concluded from their study that this measure of role conflict and role ambiguity represents generalized role stress and role clarity/comfort, respectively.

Measurement

A comprehensive diagnosis of intrapersonal conflict involves measurement in the following areas:

  1. The extent of intrapersonal conflict.
  2. The sources of such conflict.
  3. The learning and effectiveness of individual employees.

Analysis

An analysis of the preceding diagnostic data should be performed to derive the following insights:

  1. The extent of intrapersonal conflict existing at various organizational levels, units, departments, or divisions and whether they deviate significantly from national norms.
  2. The relationships between intrapersonal conflict and its sources.
  3. The relationships of intrapersonal conflict to learning and effectiveness.

National Norms

The normative data should provide management practitioners or behavioral science consultants with information to determine whether members of an organization or one or more of its subsystems are experiencing too little, too much, or a moderate amount of intrapersonal conflict.

However, it’s essential to use normative data cautiously as they offer basic indicators of what may be considered the normal level of conflict in an organization.

Sources of Intrapersonal Conflict

The sources of intrapersonal conflict are primarily structural and imposed by situational factors. The diagnosis of intrapersonal conflict must identify these sources so that they can be altered to achieve and maintain a moderate level of conflict.

Misassignment and Goal Incongruence

If a person is assigned a task for which they do not have the appropriate expertise, aptitude, or commitment, they may experience qualitative role overload. Instances of misassignment are notable in military organizations, where, for example, a truck driver is assigned the role of a cook or a bookkeeping clerk is tasked with machine operation.

Argyris’s (1964, 1974) research on personality and organization theory reveals that individual needs and organizational goals are often in conflict.

Argyris’s (1974) research suggests that only top management feels little or no conflict between their personal needs and organizational goals. This possibly indicates an inverse relationship between organizational level and perception of intrapersonal conflict.

Inappropriate Demands on Capacity

If a person cannot adequately fulfill all the demands of their position, even when working at maximum capacity, this leads to quantitative role overload.

When a person’s capacity (skills, commitment, role expectations) significantly exceeds the demands of the position, the work may not be challenging. A job becomes challenging and motivating when the role demands slightly exceed the individual’s role expectations.

Inadequate role demand or qualitative role underload is a common issue for young graduates who often find their jobs less challenging than promised by employers (Newton & Keenan, 1987).

Organizational Structure

The structure of an organization significantly influences role conflict. Organizations can generate high levels of role conflict by establishing conflicting goals, policies, and decisions.

Earlier studies have found that multiple lines of authority are associated with role conflict and a decrease in organizational effectiveness (Evan, 1962; Kaplan, 1959; LaPorte, 1965).

Low role conflict is associated with organizational practices that promote “personal development, formalization, adequate communication, planning, horizontal/parallel communication, top management receptiveness to ideas, coordination of workflow, adaptability to change, and authority adequacy” (Rizzo et al., 1970).

House and Rizzo (1972) found that practices such as formalization, planning activities, provisions for horizontal coordination, selection based on ability, and adherence to the chain of command are all negatively related to role conflict and ambiguity.

Morris, Steers, and Koch (1979) reported that participation in decision-making and formalization (i.e., the extent to which written rules and procedures regarding an employee’s job are available) were negatively associated with role conflict.

Supervisory span (i.e., the number of subordinates for whom the supervisor is responsible) and span of subordination (i.e., the number of individuals who typically assign work to an employee) were positively associated with role conflict.

Supervisory Style

Supervisory style may be one of the major generators of role conflict. Rizzo et al. (1970) found that role conflict was lower when supervisors were described as frequently emphasizing production under uncertain conditions, providing structure and standards, facilitating teamwork, tolerating freedom, and exerting upward influence.

House and Rizzo (1972) found negative relationships between role conflict and formalization, supervisory supportiveness, and team orientation.

Newton and Keenan (1987) reported that social support from supervisors was positively associated with lower qualitative role underload and higher quantitative role overload. Supervisory support was negatively associated with role conflict but not with role ambiguity.

Position

Role conflict is associated with positions that carry greater supervisory responsibility (Newton & Keenan, 1987). Foremen, in particular, are often exposed to more role conflict than others (Charters, 1952; Roethlisberger, 1965; Rosen, 1970).

Foremen frequently find themselves caught between inconsistent demands from superiors and subordinates. Another position in organizations exposed to more role conflict is that of the salesman.

Kahn et al. (1964) found that organization members who engaged in boundary-spanning activities (i.e., made frequent outside contacts) experienced more role conflict.

Other studies by Miles and Perreault (1976), Drgan and Greene (1974), and Rogers and Molnar (1976) supported this relationship.

However, Kahn et al. found only a slight difference in the degree of role conflict reported by intra- and inter-organizational boundary spanners, while Keller, Szilagyi, and Holland (1976) found no relationship between boundary-spanning activity and role conflict and ambiguity.

Personality

Rotter (1966) theorized that consistent individual differences exist between the personality dispositions of individuals with an internal and external locus of control.

Individuals with a high internal locus of control (internalizers or internals) believe that events in their lives are primarily influenced by their own behavior and actions.

In contrast, individuals with a high external locus of control (externalizers or externals) believe that events in their lives are primarily influenced by other people or external events beyond their control. Szilagyi, Sims, and Keller’s (1976) field study reported that internals generally perceived less role conflict than externals.

It should be noted, however, that while correlation coefficients were statistically significant, they were low.

Another personality type that is likely to affect both the perception of and response to role conflict is Type A behavior. Newton and Keenan (1987) reported that Type A behavior was negatively associated with qualitative role underload and positively associated with quantitative role overload.

This section has outlined an approach to comprehensive diagnosis. It’s important to note that not every organization may need or afford such a diagnosis. The results of the diagnosis should indicate whether intervention is necessary

and what type of intervention is required. At a minimum, it should indicate whether there is an excessive amount of conflict and whether its effects are functional or dysfunctional. If intrapersonal conflict is found to have negligible or nonsignificant effects on individual effectiveness, there may be no need for intervention.

However, if intrapersonal conflict significantly negatively affects individual effectiveness, intervention may be necessary to reduce this conflict and enhance effectiveness.

Intervention Strategies for Managing Intrapersonal Conflict

Two types of intervention, process, and structure, are available for the management of intrapersonal conflict. These are discussed below.

Process

The technique of role analysis is presented in this chapter as a process intervention for managing intrapersonal conflict. Although this technique has been classified as a process intervention, it also contains some components of structural interventions.

This method of intervention was first applied by Dayal and Thomas (1968) to help a new organization in India grow and increase its effectiveness. Role analysis is an intervention designed to improve overall organizational effectiveness by intervening at individual, group, and intergroup levels.

The application of this technique involves five distinct steps. A model of role analysis is utilized to examine the purpose of the role, its prescribed and discretionary elements, and its relationship with other roles. The role analysis should ideally start with the top manager of the system being changed. The formal steps of the technique are listed as follows:

  1. Purpose of role: The focal role occupant (i.e., an individual whose role is being analyzed) initiates the discussion relating to his or her role. The group members or their representatives discuss the purpose of the role (i.e., how the role fits in with the goals of the organization and/or subsystems).
  2. Role perception: The focal role occupant lists the activities that he or she feels occupy the role. Participants discuss the items and ask for explanations, and thus, new items are added, and ambiguous or contradictory items are dropped. The participants help the role incumbent to analyze the prescribed and discretionary components of the role. This frequently “enables the individual to clarify the responsibility he must take on himself for decisions, the choices open to him for alternative courses of action, and new competencies he must develop in his assigned role” (Dayal & Thomas, 1968, p. 487).
  3. Expectations of role occupant: The focal role occupant lists his or her expectations from the group members. Members of the group discuss these expectations to clarify role interdependencies; a mutually acceptable solution is reached describing expectations and obligations.
  4. Expectations from role occupant: Each participant presents a list of expectations from the focal role, which represents the group’s views of the participant’s obligation to the group member in performing his or her role.
  5. Role profile: The focal role occupant is responsible for writing down the main points of the discussion, called a role profile. This consists of (i) prescribed and discretionary activities, (ii) obligation of this role to other roles in the group, and (iii) expectations of someone in his or her role to other roles in the group.

This technique can be used to analyze and differentiate individual, group, and intergroup roles and to help individuals in managing tasks and role interdependencies more systematically.

The latter is attained through the analysis of role relationships and reassignment of tasks that provide a better match between the needs of the individual and the task goals.

From the foregoing analysis, it appears that role analysis may affect conflict not only at the individual level but also at the group and intergroup levels.

Structure

This section presents job design as a structural intervention for managing intrapersonal conflict.

Job Design

This involves the planning of the job, including its contents, the methods of performing the job, and how it relates to other jobs in the organization.

The job design method can follow two approaches. The first one is the classical approach, which involves structuring the task activities to make full use of the division of labor and specialization.

This job engineering is still a popular job design strategy. The second approach involves changing the job to make it satisfying. This is called job enrichment.

Herzberg’s two-factor theory provided real impetus to job enrichment (Herzberg, Mausner & Snyderman, 1959). Herzberg’s approach to job enrichment involves improvement of the motivation factors, such as achievement, recognition, responsibility, advancement, and opportunity for growth.

This approach is based on the assumption that job enrichment increases job satisfaction, which, in turn, increases motivation and better performance. Herzberg et al. (1959) suggested that improvement in the hygiene factors (salary, company policies, working conditions, etc.) does not lead to an increase in employee motivation.

The theory has been criticized on the grounds of (i) failure to provide evidence of the existence of two factors, such as motivation and hygiene, (ii) the assumption that motivation factors increase the motivation of all employees, and (iii) failure to specify how motivating factors can be measured for existing jobs (Hackman & Oldham, 1976).

Another approach to job enrichment, recently developed by Hackman and Oldham (1980), attempts to make jobs more meaningful by increasing or adding certain core job characteristics, such as skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback.

This approach attempts to remedy some of the problems in Herzberg et al.’s approach. Building on the works of Turner and Lawrence (1965), Hackman and Oldham (1975) identified five core dimensions that must be considered in enriching a job.

These dimensions are positively related to motivation, satisfaction, and the quality of work and negatively related to turnover and absenteeism.

It is expected that these five dimensions will negatively relate to intrapersonal conflict. The five core dimensions can be described as follows:

  1. Skill variety: This refers to the degree to which a job requires a variety of activities that involve the use of a number of different skills and talents of employees.
  2. Task identity: This refers to the degree to which the job requires an employee to perform a complete piece of work, that is, doing a job from beginning to end with a visible outcome.
  3. Task significance: This refers to the degree to which the job has an impact on the task or work of other people within or outside the organization.
  4. Autonomy: This refers to the degree to which the job provides freedom, independence, and discretion to the employee in scheduling his or her work and in determining the procedures to be used in turning it out.
  5. Feedback: This refers to the amount of information that results from the performance of a job by an employee about how well she or he is performing.