Research has clearly established the role of role ambiguity and role conflict in job satisfaction. Both role conflict and ambiguity lead to low job satisfaction. Job ambiguity has a stronger negative correlation with job satisfaction compared to role conflict. The greater the role ambiguity and greater the role conflict, the lesser the job satisfaction
Research reveals that role conflict and role ambiguity cause stress, hostility, dissatisfaction, low productivity, difficulties in decision-making, and distortion of reality, all of them associated with low job satisfaction. Left unchecked these factors can even lead to failure of the organization.
A study of "Role Conflict, Role Ambiguity, and Job Satisfaction in Nurse Executives" (Nursing Administration Quarterly January/March 2010, Volume 34) establishes a negative relationship between role conflict and role ambiguity and job satisfaction, and a positive relationship between role conflict and depression. This study indicates that low to moderate amounts of role ambiguity relate with high levels of job satisfaction and low levels of depression.
Another study entitled “The Interactive Effects of Role Conflict and Role Ambiguity on Job Satisfaction and Attitudes toward Organizational Change" (International Journal of Stress Management Volume 7, Number 4) investigates the joint effects of both role conflict and role ambiguity on job satisfaction. This study concludes that role conflict and role ambiguity independently and negatively affect job satisfaction, cognitive attitudes, and behavioral tendency attitudes toward organizational change.