Managing Conflict in Healthcare Organizations

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What is conflict? According to Masters & Albright (2002), “Conflict exists when two or more parties disagree about something” (pg. 14). Is conflict bad? Not necessarily, conflict can be good or bad. In fact, according to Lewicki et al. a moderate amount of conflict can be productive where as too little or too much conflict can result in complacency or chaos (as cited by Almost, 2006, pg. 447). In healthcare organizations, like other organizations, conflict is an everyday occurrence. According to Thomas, “managers spend approximately 30% to 40% of their workday dealing with some form of conflict” (as cited by Haraway & Haraway, 2005, pg. 11). Conflict will exist between nurses and physicians, within a healthcare organization, and between the organization and other organizations. This conflict can affect the treatment that patients receive. The key is being able to utilize good conflict while effectively managing other conflict which can be destructive to an organization. In determining how to effectively manage conflict within the organization, this report will cover conflict within a healthcare organization, conflict between health care organizations, the effects of conflict on patients, the effects of good conflict, and how to manage conflict.

Conflict within a health care organization

No matter what type of occupation someone holds there will be conflict between them and their coworkers. This is the same for nurses. The reasons stem from “inherent differences in goals, needs, desires, responsibilities, perceptions, and ideas” (Danna & Griffin as cited by Almost, 2006, pg. 444). When two nurses that work together have two separate goals they both have their own ideal way of reaching that goal which will be represen...

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Almost, J. (2006). Conflict within nursing work environments: concept analysis. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 53(4), 444-453. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2648.2006.03738.x

Haraway, D. L., & Haraway III, W. M. (2005). Analysis of the Effect of Conflict-Management and Resolution Training on Employee Stress at a Healthcare Organization. Hospital Topics, 83(4), 11-17.

Hetzler, D. C., & Record, C. (2008). Healthcare Conflict Management: An Obligation of the Board. Hamline Journal of Public Law & Policy, 29(2), 401-410.

Masters, M. F., & Albright, R. R. (2002). Conflict Resolution in the Workplace. New York, NY: AMACON.

Mazadoorian, H. N. (2007). The Promise of ADR in Healthcare Disputes. Dispute Resolution Journal, 62(1), 17.

Tyson, P. (2001, March 27). The Hippocratic Oath Today. Retrieved from
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