The existence of conflict is a common aspect of human life. However, there are certain sectors like healthcare and national security, which are adversely affected by cropping up of conflicts and may lead to disastrous outcomes if no tangible resolution mechanisms are available. Conflict management at the workplace is an essential task for the team leaders.
In healthcare facilities, conflicts range from simple disagreement to serious scandals that lead to litigation. They may occur between physicians, physicians and non-clinical staff or the healthcare providers and patients or their family members (Privitera, 2011). Such occurrences have a negative effect on efficiency and staff productivity as a result of demoralized staff limiting their contributions.
Physicians like any other people may lack emotional intelligence and effective interpersonal skills. Some may have the outbursts in tempers, demeaning behavior to colleagues, favoritism and creating unnecessary stressful environment for colleagues. This leads to poor cooperation between them jeopardizing the service quality to patients (Borkowski, 2011).
Typical conflict between physicians and non-clinical staff creates an environment with berating workers, team spirit diminishing increasing employee turnover. Abusive behavior by supervisors in the form of attitude, off the cuff jokes, sexual harassment or violence disrupts normal activity (Ellis& Hartley, 2004). In severe cases retaliations, sabotages and even initiating or supporting patients to file malpractice suits against physicians may occur.
Such scenarios directly affect the welfare of patients as staff may withhold vital patient information, isolating certain physicians by giving them lukewarm support and even opting to resign from work. When this happens it offers breeding ground for patients to complain against the facility. Minor conflicts within the staff can trickle down and cause ripple effects that eventually result to total dysfunction of the entire facility.
In our model case, apparently there exist three types of conflicts. First, between the lead physicians and junior physicians; Ms. Miller, the administrators’ involvement to over-rule Dr. Kincaid in firing the program manager represents the conflict between the physicians (Privitera, 2011). The complaints raised by staff and service providers in the bariatric program regarding the manager’s behavior represent the conflict between physicians and non-clinical staff; whereas patients’ complaints to the chief of the bariatric program Dr. Kincaid show the conflict ripple effects to drag them in.
The bariatric program is a sensitive docket such that disruptions can lead to further complications in patients. Lack of morale in staff will reduce the after surgery care provision hence affect patients, which may result to unnecessary deaths. Secondly, patients and families can initiate legal redress against the health facility for professional malpractices, and when gross violation of patients’ rights is proved, it may lead to cancellation of license to operate (Hansten & Jackson, 2009).
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A conflict at management level is far more undesirable than at any other level. Disagreement between the administrator and chief of the bariatric program if left to grow will create divisions in the staff as people have a tendency to form affiliations with one party or the other. This will eventually result to total dysfunction of the entire facility (Singer & Viens, 2008).
To resolve conflicts properly, understanding how they arise in the first place is crucial. Leaders in organizations should notice conflict triggers like unfair criticism, racial inequality and sexual harassment, silly rules by supervisors, foul language and poor communication, poor prioritizing of work or inappropriate interference of personal matters into professional duties.
The best way for preventing conflicts is by laying down professional codes of conduct that must be respected by all. Ground rules and disciplinary structures, referral procedures to higher authority must be outlined and made known to all stakeholders. Understanding individual professional mandates or limits makes it easy for conflict resolutions.
The president, Bobby Langdon should address the parties in reference to laid down protocol and outline individual’s jurisdiction and mandate. Ms. Miller, Dr. Kincaid and the manager must understand their mandate and be sensitized on the importance of adequate cooperation between them as the leaders in this facility (Aldridge & Wanless, 2012). Once a compromise is reached, reconciliation and forgiving of previously overlooked issues follows. The expected reaction is professional respect from all parties for the sake of patients’ welfare and the health facility preceding personal interest.
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