What is Role Clarity?

Merel Wijnands

An employee experiences role clarity when they know what they need to do and what is expected of them. The content of their tasks, work methods, and priorities are all clear, and the employee is aware of their role within the organisation. On the other end of the scale, role ambiguity occurs when the content, priorities and work methods are unclear.

What is Role Clarity?

Role clarity

Within every organisation, role clarity is important. An employee who experiences role clarity knows what they need to do and what is expected of them. Higher role clarity helps lead to higher performance within organisations.

How do we measure it?

A number of employee survey questions must be answered in order to provide a clear picture regarding role clarity. In order to measure role clarity, we do not take the average of all scores from survey questions that are essential in determining role clarity. Rather, those questions serve as a sort of map containing two main routes: ‘role clarity’ and ‘role ambiguity’. This map starts with the question of whether employees know what is expected of them.

HR Analytics: Role Clarity infographic & fact sheet

Get data-driven insights about role clarity in the workplace by downloading this infographic and fact sheet.


How do we label it?

Employees who agree that they know what is expected are mapped on the ‘role clarity’ route. If they disagree, they are placed on the ‘role ambiguity’ route. Additional questions are posed along each route, serving as junctures to determine the employee’s role clarity. For example, we look at their answers to questions about priorities and efficient work methods. This enables us to ‘label’ each employee as follows: role clarity, correct work method unclear, correct priorities unclear, correct work method and priorities unclear, and role ambiguity.

Personal score and average score

Each label, and therefore each employee, gets a personal score. The score is not an average of the questions but a judgment based on the label. Role clarity is a label with a very high score, while a role ambiguity label corresponds with a very low score. The average of these label scores(i.e. employees’ individual scores) determines the team or organisation-wide score for role clarity. The larger the ‘role ambiguity’ group, the lower the average score.

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