The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1 - 33

Supervision and Job Satisfaction Factors of Residence Directors and Resident Assistants

The diversity of RAs' responsibilities
and their sometimes competing
priorities can lead to role ambiguity
and conflict.

job (Hardy & Dodd, 1998). Because they live
with their residents, RAs are surrounded by
their peers and their supervisors both at home
and at work (Hetherington, Oliver, & Phelps,
1989), which leads to little separation from the
stressors of work (Hardy & Dodd, 1998).

Role Ambiguity and Conflict
The nature of the RA position creates a
number of different roles such as student,
peer, employee, and supervisor. The diversity
of RAs' responsibilities and their sometimes
competing priorities can lead to role ambiguity
and conflict (Deluga & Winters, 1990). In their
study of role ambiguity, stress, job satisfaction,
and job performance of 42 RAs employed at
a northeastern college, Deluga and Winters
(1990) found that RAs were often "uncertain
about the dimensions of their position and responsibilities" (p. 230). There was also a positive correlation between RAs who experienced
lack of clarity in their position and job stress
(Deluga & Winters, 1990).
In another study, Schaller and Wagner
(2007) examined the experiences of RAs in
their sophomore year and found that they did
not fully understand the position and were
not fully prepared by the training and supervision they received to address all situations.
Brecheisen (2015) posited that the clearer the
expectations and the greater the understand-

ing of the roles associated with the position,
the greater the likelihood that RAs felt higher
job satisfaction.
The complex nature of peers overseeing
peers can create conflict for RAs and add stress
to the position (Everett & Loftus, 2011). In a
study examining the role conflicts of 32 RAs at
a private college in the southeast, Everett and
Loftus (2011) found that a majority of the RAs
had difficulty documenting policy violations
committed by students they knew. The RAs
also reported that they wanted to form relationships with their residents, but their role as
an RA created a distance between them unlike
that found in other peer-to-peer relationships
(Everett & Loftus, 2011).
Conflict between high academic achievement and strong job performance is a reality
for RAs and can impact their longevity in the
position (Brecheisen, 2015; Schaller & Wagner,
2007). In a study of sophomore RAs, Schaller
and Wagner (2007) found that their inability
to manage their time effectively led either to
diminished academic performance or diminished job performance. Brecheisen (2015)
found that RAs who voluntarily departed from
the position had higher grade point averages
than did those who stayed in the position for
another year. Brecheisen hypothesized that the
departure was related to RAs in more rigorous
academic programs who wanted to focus more
attention on their academics, which they found
was harder to do in the RA position.

Job Satisfaction
Job satisfaction has been extensively studied
in the behavioral sciences (Gruneberg, 1979;
Locke, 1976; Tett & Meyer, 1993). Research on
job satisfaction in psychology has been around
since the early 1900s, producing countless artiV O L U M E 4 6 , NO. 1 * 2 0 1 9

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The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1

Contents
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1 - Intro
The Journal of College and University Student Housing - Volume 46, No. 1 - Cover1
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