CONFLICT RESOLUTION AT GENERAL HOSPITAL
Organizational Behavior (Bus 520)
28 November 2011
Discuss the conflict that is occurring at General Hospital.
Conflict is defined as a process in which one party perceives that its interests are being opposed or negatively affected by another party (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011). Conflict occurs daily, whether it happens between two or more individuals or between two competing groups. How a person or group responds to such conflict can make or break an organization. Healthy internal competition can exist, such as teams trying to come up with the next great solution to a problem, but all too often people treat colleagues ...view middle of the document...
The first measure taken by Harding was to computerize and outsource the interpretation of EKG readings. This task had been accomplished by resident Dr. James Boyer, a respected physician with an unblemished record. By doing this, the hospital would save $100,000 in doctor’s salary over the next three years and provide nearly instantaneous results (Hellriegel & Slocum, 2011). Soon after implementation, problems with EKG analysis began to arise, prompting doctors to question the absence of Dr. Boyer and why they were not consulted prior to his termination. Before catching a plane for vacation, Ms. Harding had sent Dr. Boyer a letter relieving him from his duties and informing him to apply for another position within the hospital. This action enraged the physician staff who demanded a meeting with Ms. Harding who just avoided the issue altogether. The physicians, led by Dr. Williams, issued an ultimatum to Ms. Harding that she meet with them or they will admit their patients to other hospitals.
In whole, all the issues among the parties exhibited the traits of Intergroup Conflict. Intergroup conflict results when groups within an organization develop attitudes toward each other founded on distrust, selfishness, and an inability to listen or respect the opposing point of view. The only sense of collaboration, or common agreement, was the good cop-bad cop strategy of Mr. Hammer and Ms. Harding.
Discuss the conflict management styles that are evident in the case.
Upon acknowledgment of the hospital’s financial difficulties, Mr. Hammer attempted the collaborating style for conflict management by pointing out wasteful practices and suggesting doctors adhere to a cost containment program. His efforts fell short due to the physicians’ unwillingness to compromise. Doctors felt and convinced the Board of Trustees that a cost containment program was culturally unfeasible and would impact the hospital’s ability to retain quality doctors. Dr. Williams’ forcing style of conflict management just solidified Mr. Hammer’s perception that doctors do not care about costs associated with running a hospital.
Seeing that collaboration (win-win) or compromise (give-take) styles proved fruitless, Mr. Hammer reverted to a forcing style (win-lose), basically stating his way was the way it was going to be. When using a forcing style, the person in position of authority makes a decision regarding the conflict without regard to how others feel about the situation. In order to enact his point of view, Mr. Hammer tasked COO, Marge Harding, to choose a task physicians perform that can be done at less cost and implement the change. This style would not be best for those who are trying to motivate employees. A leader should seek positive input from his staff and at least listen to their concerns. The forcing style will tend to alienate those who are affected by the decision and make them feel as if their thoughts and feelings are unimportant.