Measuring Rolefulness With the Rolefulness Scale

Episode Transcription 

Nick: Hello, it's Nick Kemp here on episode three of the Rolefulness Podcast. Professor Daiki Kato and I will explore the rolefulness scale. Daiki, welcome back to the show.

Daiki: Thanks, Nick, I look forward to talking with you again. 

Importance of developing a scale 

Nick: Me too, as always, it’s always good to catch-up with you. So along with your concept of rolefulness, you developed a scale. Why is developing a scale important to research?

Because with my own research of many Japanese concepts -- ikigai, ibasho, I keep finding scales. So why is developing a scale important to research?

Daiki: In psychological research, developing new psychological concepts is very important. So as you say, ikigai, or ibasho, or yarigai. So many psychological concepts existed.

So, I'll talk about the reason; we can't see our feelings or minds directly from outside. So it is a very important and interesting point of psychology. 

We guess and understand others' feelings through their behaviours, facial expressions, and their words. Developing the scale is one of the useful ways to understand our psychological factors and share it with others. 

Coming up with the rolefulness scale

The rolefulness scale

Nick: I see. That makes sense. So let's then move on to the rolefulness scale, your creation. So how did it come about? And what is the rolefulness scale? 

Daiki: The rolefulness scale is a five point scale for measuring rolefulness. So, we made some items and the participants answered from agree to disagree –the five points.

And it was necessary to develop a scale with validity to measure rolefulness. We developed the rolefulness scale and confirmed its validity based on many data. We collected a lot of data from Japanese adolescents and analysed it statistically.

We hypothesised two factors: social rolefulness and internal rolefulness. The statistical analysis shows two sub-factors, same as our hypothesis, and each factor includes five items. So the rolefulness scale includes two items in total. So can I explain a little more about the scale?

Nick: Sure. Before you do, can I just touch on, did you use the Likert model?

The 10 items scale

Daiki: Yes, I adapted the Likert model. At first, I made 10 items scale; the social rolefulness includes five items and the internal rolefulness includes five items.

After that, I did more analysis called confirmatory factor analysis. It is a very specific statistical analysis for professionals. When we use the confirmatory factor analysis, we analyse the validity more strictly. 

And I also made a seven items version of the rolefulness scale, it is for the professional researchers. So the validity is guaranteed more and it is for the researchers. But I think that it's easy to use 10 item versions. So it is very easy to calculate the scores of rolefulness. The items are very varied, so it is friendly and familiar. 

And I recommend using the 10 items version for everyone and the seven items version is for the professionals. So, in this podcast or our book project, we use the 10 items version, so it is very familiar.

Nick: All right, well, let's go through those 10 items. And as you mentioned, you had five for social rolefulness, and then five for internal rolefulness.

And as a researcher or professional, you call them items, I guess, to me, someone who's not really a researcher, I see them as statements. I'd understand them as statements. So would you like to go through all 10, starting off with five of the social rolefulness? 

Items under social rolefulness

Daiki: Okay, I'll talk about the statements included in the rolefulness scale. So first, I'll introduce the statements under social rolefulness. 

So it includes five statements, the first one is 'I'm useful in society'; the second one is, 'I can apply my strengths for society'; and the next one is 'My roles are necessary for other people'; and the next is 'I have roles in the various groups I belong to'; and the last one is 'I carry out several social roles.' These five statements are included in social rolefulness.

Nick: Unsurprisingly, they're obviously related to our outer world, society, our groups, and I guess our relationships. 

Items under internal rolefulness

Daiki: Yeah, all statements relate deeply with our social roles and our relationships with others. And can I talk about internal rolefulness? I'll introduce statements included in internal rolefulness. 

So the first one is, 'I realised my individuality by my role'; the second one is 'I'm satisfied with my role'; the next is 'I gain confidence because of my role'; and the next is 'My role brings out my individuality'; and the last one is 'I have a role that is only mine.' These five items, the statements under internal rolefulness, these items show that social rolefulness pertains to our interpersonal relationships and our connection with the society we belong to. 

However, while social rolefulness is based on the social context, internal rolefulness consists of more authentic and personal aspects such as self-identity and confidence.

Nick: Indeed, now what's interesting about the scale is the way you measure it. And so what I touched on earlier was this Likert model that I've seen a lot, I've seen it in many scales.

And it might be helpful for the listeners to know how the person taking the scale, so your research group was asked these questions or statements or items. 

And so it's usually something like: please respond to each item, indicating what degree from a range of one to five, the statement applies to you with five applies a lot to me, and one doesn't apply to me. So there's no zero.  

The rolefulness worksheets 

And what's good is if our listeners want they can take this scale, we've created some worksheets using the scale and you can download them from our website, rolefulness.com.

And to my surprise, Daiki, you quickly wrote a paper developing rolefulness worksheets and its effect on increasing rolefulness. And you obviously gave them to some of your university students to fill out but you're very generous and you cited me in the paper. 

We actually created these worksheets together. And I've got to tell you a funny story. I showed my brother a photo of my citation that you put me in at the start of the paper, and he did not realise rolefulness was like a real thing. He thought that I was just joking that I'm writing a book with a Japanese professor on rolefulness. 

So when I sent him the image, he was like, 'Oh, what this is a real concept?' Then I'm like, 'Of course, it's a real concept, what do you think?' So yeah, this is a real concept. And there is now a scale that you developed, and so our listeners can download the worksheets and print them out. 

Results obtained from the rolefulness worksheet

Rolefulness worksheet results

But you discovered something quite encouraging from the study you facilitated that led to you writing this paper on developing a rolefulness worksheet and its effect on increasing rolefulness. So yeah, what did you learn from your students after they completed the rolefulness worksheets?

Daiki: I will talk more about the worksheets we developed and the study about the effect of the worksheet. So thank you for introducing our new study about the rolefulness worksheet. I hope to publish our new research paper soon, and for the listeners to read it soon. And so this time, I'll talk about the summary of the study. 

First, the participants rated the statements/items of the rolefulness scale with scores ranging from one to five points. So one is disagree and the five is agree, and their social and internal rolefulness scores are calculated.

They then reflected on the roles they performed in their daily life and the feelings they experienced in relation to these roles and wrote them on the worksheet. 

Thereafter, they answered the rolefulness scale again, and the scores were compared before and after -- reflections about their roles. This study hypothesised that the worksheet increases both social and internal rolefulness.

But the result was a little different as I expected, the result was very interesting for me. Participants' social rolefulness significantly increased after answering the worksheet. In contrast, no significant change in internal rolefulness was observed. 

So it is different from our hypothesis, but I think the result is very important and it's very interesting for me. I'll talk about it more: social rolefulness is based on one's social experience and changes in a very short term -- it can be changed in a very short term.

In the present study, the participants reflected on their roles in their daily lives as well as their feelings in relation to these roles by writing about them. 

These experiences might have been focused on their satisfaction or their social roles, which increase their social rolefulness. Furthermore, the participants complete the worksheet just once.

However, its continuous effect must be explored in future studies. Typically, the significant amount of time required to facilitate internal rolefulness. 

Also no significant changes in internal rolefulness was observed in this study. I think that it might increase when the worksheet is continuously used. In this study, we used the worksheet just one time. But through just one time challenge to do the worksheet, the increased social rolefulness is a very important result. 

So if students try to do it continuously, for example, every day or once a week, continuously doing the worksheet may increase internal rolefulness, too. And I want to examine its effects in future research. 

Understanding internal rolefulness

Nick: That is a valid point. And I've just had the worksheets open up in front of me now, and so that the students, as you said, they took the scale before and after reflecting on their roles. 

But I guess they did this within a short time period, maybe 20 to 30 minutes. And what you asked them to do was let's reflect on the roles you're performing in your daily life, you most likely have multiple roles in your family, professional roles and social roles, describe the actions you take to support your roles, no matter how insignificant these actions may seem, go into detail. 

And we had a few examples for them to work from, but essentially, we asked them to write a paragraph, or you asked them to write a paragraph on their roles. And that's, that's probably not enough time or detail to have any significant impact on your perception of your internal rolefulness. 

So it is interesting, perhaps, to have some better understanding of your internal rolefulness, it would require either daily reflection, it might even require conversations with someone guiding you on, you know, let's talk about your social roles, and how you internalise that.

I imagine this is done to some degree in psychology, or maybe with therapy, or maybe even with people who have relationship problems, and they go and get counselling. 

So again, I guess this makes the argument that we should spend more time thinking about our roles, defining them, reflecting on them, and thinking about how they give us a sense of purpose, a sense of meaning, they give us something to work towards. 

I remember the day I found out I was going to be a father and how exciting that was and I wanted to embrace this idea of, I'm going to be a father, I'm going to be playful, and we're going to be loving.

So I'm sure if we spent more time reflecting on our roles and doing some sort of journaling practice, it would improve our overall internal rolefulness. I guess you would agree to that.

Daiki: So yeah, I'm impressed by your suggestions. The good point of the worksheet is that we can do the worksheet by ourselves. So it's a very easy way to focus on our role and think about rolefulness by myself.

So it is a very good tool, very good material, to think about rolefulness. I thought that this time, in this study, the students did the worksheet by themselves, and so they didn't share the experience and they didn't talk about the statements with each other. 

So, perhaps, the process of sharing the experience of the worksheet is important. So if they share what they imagine about their role and what they reflect and talk about it, it may increase internal rolefulness. So it is a very good idea to try next time.

Nick: That's a good point, too, because you could either do it just as a group discussion among students or friends, or where appropriate, perhaps you'd get some professional help or counselling.

But talking about our roles, and the benefits and the challenges, and what we take from our roles, and what we feel from our roles in a group setting would be like a safe way to discuss it, especially with our peers. 

So if you're a student, you do it with student managers or business owners who have staff. They should probably do something with their staff and have open discussion about what they enjoy about their role and perhaps the frustrations where they don't have a feeling of rolefulness. 

So yeah, this theme and concept, Daiki, you coined and wrote a paper on could lead to bigger things. So it's really exciting. And that's what we hope to do with this podcast and book is to have people think more about their roles and the benefits that they gain and the people around them, I guess, gain and how we can increase rolefulness. 

And that will actually be the episode of our next podcast, increasing rolefulness. But we should remind people that they can download these worksheets from the website, so rolefulness.com, and it'd be obviously worthwhile for them to go through these worksheets.

Daiki: Yeah, I hope many people are interested in the worksheet. The reason that we try to do the worksheet --it might be a very good experience for you.

Nick: Yes. It's like the first podcast that has homework. So you can download the podcast, you can take the scale, do some reflection, and then take the scale again and see if your level of social and internal rolefulness increases and we'd be happy to know. 

So let us know, if you do download worksheets and you do take them, if you have any feedback, you can also go to our website and leave a message on the contact page. Alright, Daiki, so we'll end this episode here. Thank you for your time today. And next week, we'll be talking about increasing rolefulness.

Daiki: Yeah, next time is also a very important theme and I look forward to seeing you again. Thank you today.

Nick: Thanks, mate. Likewise.