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Conflict Resolution Case Study Analysis

Conflict Resolution Case Study Analysis

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Published by Sunil Srivastava

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Published by: Sunil Srivastava on May 23, 2011
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Conflict Resolution Case Study AnalysisOverview: The healthcare providers market has become very competitive and the board of Directors of a large medical organization (HMO XYZ) wants providers (Doctors) to see patients every 15 minutes. They have stipulated that the Doctors doa complete job of caring for the patient and documenting to support high level reimbursement, which management claims will help the hospital remain solvent. Theprovider’s on the other hand claim that they cannot do their job effectively if they have to push patients through in 15 minutes. The providers felts that theirfeedback was not solicitated and this has led to dissatisfaction, frustration and griping among them. The providers’ have also complained to the patients about this issue and this has led to higher patient dissatisfaction.The issues:a. Competitive marketplaceb. Managements arbitrary stipulation of Doctors needing to see patients every 15minc. Doctors feeling not part of the teamd. Dissatisfaction, frustration and gripinge. Patient dissatisfactionProblems:Major – Hospital profitability; Doctor Dissatisfaction, Patient Dissatisfaction; Low employee morale; Poor serviceMinor – Employee frustration, Griping, Time wasted on rumoursTying theory to the issue:Mullins (1999) suggests that good management and leadership helps to develop teamwork and the integration of individuals and groups with organizational goals. However, the board of directors’ management style demonstrated an inability to leadand work with the providers. It appears they did not call for an initial meeting with the providers, conduct a feasibility study or discuss with them individually before setting the guidelines and expectations. Instead the Board of Directors displayed an autocratic leadership style where there were no consultative processes and management alone was involved in decision making (Mullins 1999). Clearly this management style not only failed to gain employee commitment to meetingorganizational goals but also underpinned many of the problems that have sinceoccurred.Deutsch (2000) states that “Most conflicts involve a mix of cooperative and competitive motives,” and has developed a theory of cooperation and competition in orderto better understand conflict processes and resolutions. As per Deutsch (2000),a key element in understanding cooperation/competition is the type of goal interdependence found between the involved parties. Parties
goals can be positivelyinterdependent--success correlating with success, or failure with failure. These situations tend to yield cooperative relationships where the parties have a win-win orientation. In the above case, management needs to ensure that their recommendation to the Doctors is a win-win scenario. The management team needs to beable to communicate to the Doctors that to keep the hospital solvent, the 15minper patient rule needs to be enforced and seek their feedback as to how it canbe done.As per Deutsch (2000), co-operative relationships display a number of positive characteristics, including more effective communication and coordination, open and friendly attitudes and a sense of mutuality. In the above scenario, the management team needs to develop a co-operative and collaborative relationship with the Doctors by building effective communication channels rather than Competitive processes which tend to yield the inverse, negative effects: obstructed communication, inability to coordinate activities, suspicion and a lack of self-confidence which has been happening at the hospital.Deutsch
s research "suggests that constructive processes of conflict resolutionare similar to cooperative processes of problem solving, and destructive processes of conflict resolution are similar to competitive processes."(p. 27) and he identifies some of the implications that this theory of cooperation and competiti
on has for our understanding of conflict, for conflict management and conflict resolution. A cooperative orientation on the part of the Management & Doctors will facilitate constructive resolution of a conflict. Constructive resolution is also more likely when the parties can reframe their understanding of their goalsand conflict, coming to see their respective goals as positively interdependentand the conflict as a joint problem. Constructive conflict resolution rests on the very basic values of reciprocity, human equality, human fallibility, shared community, and nonviolence. As these values are widely shared, they can provide common ground between the otherwise starkly opposed parties (Management & Doctors).Krauss, 2000 suggests “The dialogic model” which views communication as a cooperative, collaborative process. Meaning arises from the communicative situation, andcan only be understood within that context. This model, unlike the others, treats the listener as an active participant in the creation of a shared understanding. "Active listeners raise questions, clarify ambiguous declarations, and take great pains to ensure that they and their counterpart have the same understanding of what has been said."(p.140) Principle five is: Be an active listener. In conflict situations, principle six suggests "focus initially on establishing conditions that allow effective communication to occur; the cooperation that communication requires, once established, may generalize to other contexts."(p. 141)In the above scenario, management could have avoided dissatisfaction and distrust by adopting the “Dialogic Model”. Instead of creating dissention and poor customer service, they could have initiated better communication which would have led to collaboration and cooperation. By treating the Doctors as active participantson the issue of “getting higher reimbursement”, management would have had partners who would have contributed to the solution.Solution:Communication and management were two major issues identified in this case study. Potential solutions to improve the communication issue could be:Involve providers in decision making process.Advantages: It is important that all members of an organizational team, howeverlow in the hierarchy, are consulted regarding proposed changes to operations andguidelines. Staff input into changes need to be factored into any fiscal decisions as their practical experience provides management with valuable knowledge and information regarding implementation issues an indeed the feasibility of any changes. Further, consultation therefore allows collective ownership of any changes and hence increases commitment to making changes work.Disadvantages: A possible disadvantage is that consultation requires substantialtime commitment. Personnel need to be paid for time spent in meetings and therefore can incur costs. Also, open consultation requires tolerance and the abilityto manage conflict from all stakeholders. This can be “difficult” and can take considerable time to develop in an organization.Recommendations:CommunicationConsultationMeetingsLeadershipTeam buildingParticipative leadership style
References:Morton Deutsch. "Cooperation and Competition." Morton Deutsch and Peter T. Coleman, eds., The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice, 2000; www.beyondintractability.org/booksummaryPeter T. Coleman. "Power and Conflict." Morton Deutsch and Peter T. Coleman, eds., The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory and Practice, 2000, pp. 108-130;www.beyondintractability.org/booksummaryRobert M. Krauss and Ezequiel Morsella. "Communication and Conflict." Morton Deutsch and Peter T. Coleman, eds., The Handbook of Conflict Resolution: Theory andPractice, 2000, pp. 131-143; www.beyondintractability.org/booksummary

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