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Throughout the ages, conflict management has been considered a challenge for managers. In healthcare organizations, it is not uncommon to have conflicts. These conflicts could be interpersonal or conflicts over resources. Much time and effort has been put into researching the types of conflicts and ways to resolve them. These methods of conflict resolution are based on the situation and other factors including age of people involved, their gender, culture, religion, and beliefs. Conflicts do not only destroy the workplace relationships but also negatively impact the entire organizations. Therefore, it becomes crucial for the administration to devise efficient conflict management strategies and policies which could then result in the organization becoming smoother and more effective (Frates, 2014). This essay presents the analysis of a case study where collaboration and cooperation have appeared to be the best conflict management strategies.
Interpersonal conflict arises due to the disagreements between individuals. This type of conflict can develop because of conflicting interests over matters such as resource allocation. Different people have different types of personalities, which often becomes critical to categorize due to individual traits. Some people have certain positive attributes in their personality alongside the negative. For example, a person may be quick to blame others but has other positive characteristics such as having strong work ethic (Frates, 2014).
In the case study, interpersonal conflict took place between the interests of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and physicians. The conflict mainly occurred because the CEO wanted to increase the revenue of the firm, while the physicians had no real interest in achieving this goal. The second incident that may illustrate the interpersonal conflict developed when the Medical Director Dr. Wiseman went against Mr. Edwards because of the newly hired Chief Operating Officer (COO) Ms. Jones fired the radiologist in order to reduce the costs. The medical director developed the conflict mainly because there started to be issues regarding reading of the reports. Thus, a clear gap in the organizational communication and collaboration was identified; the employees were not all on the same page to achieve efficiency while minimizing the cost.
The other type of conflict identified in the case study is intraorganizational. This type of conflict is generated when different groups or departments within an organization are in disagreement with each other. It is not an anomaly for these kinds of conflicts to emerge in an organization. It is especially common in organizations that are complex and larger in size. The intraorganizational type of conflict develops when an organization is in the process of dividing its resources or laying off employees or if it is in a financially unstable position. Two departments may have disagreements over what share of resources should be allocated to them or may just not be “in the mood” to cooperate (Frates, 2014).
The example of interpersonal conflict can be identified in the situation where the CEO and COO developed a conflict of interest with the group of physicians and Dr. Wiseman. This disagreement has been discussed in detail in the previous section. The two parties of this conflict in the case study were the medical faculty and administration of the hospital. Thus, the conflict can be viewed as intraorganizational.
It can be seen from the case study that Mr. Edwards took a strategic and competing approach in order to resolve the conflict and manage the workplace relationships efficiently. He identified the need for taking immediate action. When the physicians did not cooperate with him, he hired Ms. Jones to handle the situations efficiently. At once, Ms. Jones fired a radiologist, which strained the relationship between the administration and physicians. Mr. Edwards clearly wanted to increase revenue, but he neglected the quality of service. On the other hand, the goal of Dr. Wiseman was to ensure accuracy of operations.
In addition to the above, another competing approach was taken by Dr. Wiseman when he gathered all the furious physicians to go against the upper administrative hierarchy. The main cause behind this action was Dr. Wiseman’s belief that the hospital would be legally accused of producing inaccurate reports and that it was unjust for them to fire good doctors, specifically the radiologist. Hence, they criticized Mr. Edwards and his approach to reducing costs (Frates, 2014).
One possible strategy that could be taken by Mr. Edwards is to hire a mediator and accommodate both parties, which were himself and the physicians. In this way, they could find a way to settle the matter of reducing costs while still maintaining the operational efficiency. The management had the ability to decrease the cost but had no idea about the importance of medical reports. On the other hand, physicians had the ability to manage the medical procedures efficiently. The organizational culture was not nurturing the communication between the staff working at different organizational levels. As a result, the collaborative decision making was not possible. The situation, therefore, revealed the importance of the internal communication for the organizations, particularly during the conflict management situations. The mediator’s job there was to make them aware of the consequences of their actions, which was realized in the case very late (Frates, 2014).
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Once the physicians became serious about the severity of the situation, they should have been willing to compromise on some aspects of their job. For instance, this could include certain cuts in salary or controlling the amount of hospital resources that they may have been using excessively. The CEO, Mr. Edwards, on the other hand, should have then realized that firing people from their jobs was not the solution. A comparatively smaller cut in costs could also help in reducing expenses. Overall, understanding the needs, feelings, and emotions of both the parties was imperative (Deutsch, Coleman, & Marcus, 2014).
The second situation occurred only as a consequence of not handling the first one appropriately. Dr. Wiseman would never have gone against the CEO and COO if the radiologist had not been unreasonably fired. The parties both needed to compromise; the doctors needed to help cut costs, while the administration needed to stop laying off quality staff members in order to avoid legal accountability.
In order to reduce costs for this hospital, the appropriate technology and staff experts should be hired, which could reduce the need of hiring higher number of people. Staff trainings and performance monitoring can add value to the services. In addition to the core competencies of the business, the hospital should also provide trainings about the importance of collaboration and mutual co-operation at the workplace. Moreover, the hospital authorities need to keep a check of the transparency of their operations and keep a keen eye on the resources of the hospital for ensuring efficient cost cut-down (Robinson, 2011).
This essay has described conflict management interests and strategies for the case of a hospital where the main issue was to reduce costs, while ensuring efficient operations. Due to the lack of collaborative working culture, the administration and medical faculty were involved in conflicts. In fact, both interpersonal and intraorganizational conflicts have been identified. There was a clear need of taking strategic decisions based on the mutual interest of both the parties since it was overall about the efficiency of the entire hospital not about an individual or a department.