Case Study Analysis: Conflict Management
The occurrence of conflict in a healthcare facility is typically high due to differences in values, beliefs, perception, and experiences. Nurses work in a complex and highly interpersonal relationship-based work environment. Therefore, one’s opinions may not align with the views of another. In this case study, two conflict theories can be noted, and they are; intrapersonal conflict and process theory. Intrapersonal conflict occurs within one individual. Tension, or stress inside, or internal to an individual that results from unmet needs, expectations, or goals (Huber, 2014). Intrapersonal conflict is identified when the nurse states “I asked you to get Mrs. J ready for her; you have completely ignored me; you would not help him.” The nurse is clearly frustrated and takes it out on the LPN because the job wasn’t done, and she assumes she was being ignored. Conversely, process theory conflict arises when there are differences concerning the delegation of task and responsibilities at the workplace, which leads to clashes and quarrels. When the LPN and nurse disagree about who is responsible for completing the specific duty, they’re experiencing process conflict. The LPN stated “I was caught in the room with Mr. P; Why couldn’t you get Mrs. J ready? You apparently knew about the CT scan.” The nurse states “ It was your job. You were assigned Mrs. J.” Reflects on how she thinks a task accomplishment should proceed, when in fact they are both responsible for Mrs. J.
Lewin’s planned change for conflict management is meant to reduce stress and improve the performance of nurses in the workplace. Planned change is defined as the intentional engineering of variations within a group, which work by assisting planners to control the variables in such a plan by using correlated concepts that predicts their drivers and impact (Huber, 2014). The general aim of this conflict management theory is to plan, manage and assess the change.
Conversely, Roger’s diffusion in innovation theory proposes the adoption of a new idea as a conflict management strategy. This new idea can either be accepted and adopted or rejected and dropped, which all depends on how individuals will react to the proposed innovation (Huber, 2014). Therefore, the outcome of this theory is highly dependent on the implementation strategy used. This theory is best used for long-term change.
Lewin’s planned change for conflict management is the best suited for nurses. It is important for nurses to recognize that they can learn, practice, and improve negative behaviors by managing the conflict constructively. Since nurses already use planned change in their day to day activities like admitting patients, taking their vital signs, diagnosing, developing the patients care needs, and proposing appropriate changes (Huber, 2014). Therefore, it is more feasible to use planned changes than other strategies, since they are already familiar with it.
The strengths of the Lewin’s conflict management theory include; the utilization of the principles of social change to develop changes. Social science is an important element of any society and understanding factors that limit the possibilities typically inclusive of various values, beliefs, perspectives, and procedures (Huber, 2014). Its weaknesses include; the unwillingness to view change as an opportunity, the process of change may vary; there is no clear pattern or timeline available, and the possibility of unwanted complication appearing is highly likely; diversity of professional backgrounds create barriers.
One of the essential elements of change is making sure that everyone involved is part of the planning process. This develops effective working relationships to create healthy work environments and cultures of safety. Creativity and opportunities for innovation can be established through effective workgroups, coming together to share information and ideas. This may promote both individuals to mutually make decisions. Applying a top-down management style is likely to produce defiance and even more conflict between the necessary parties since they may feel like they are being forced to accept this change or their input isn’t valid (Huber, 2014). Additionally, evaluating the readiness for change is crucial since it provides an overview of the level of change that it can introduce without upsetting the equilibrium.
It is the mandate of nurse managers and leaders to ensure that their subordinates have the necessary tools to carry out their duties effectively. One way to ensure this happens is providing the opportunity to think critically, which will allow them to learn from their past mistakes and find new ways of tackling a particular problem. One of the essential skills that a nurse leader should possess is communication (Arveklev, Berg, Wigert, Morrison-Helme & Lepp, 2018). A good communicator can influence an individual’s decision and be instrumental in conflict management such as the one in this case. This skill is essential in a group setting since it will assist in the avoidance of issues such as the one presented in this case study.
Evaluating the development and progress conflict of management can be determined by how the individuals effectively communicate amongst each other. Determine if they are confronting or “Carefronting” one another when resolving future conflicts. In Carefronting the overall goal is to attain and maintain effective, productive working relationships. Carefronting is a method of communication that entails caring enough about one’s self, one’s goals, and others to confront conflict courageously in a self-asserting, responsible manner (Kupperschmidt, 2012).
- Arveklev, S. H., Berg, L., Wigert, H., Morrison-Helme, M., & Lepp, M. (2018). Learning about conflict and conflict management through drama in nursing education. The Journal of Nursing Education, 57(4), 209-216. doi:10.3928/01484834-20180322-04
- Huber, D. (2014). Leadership & nursing care management (Fifth ed.). St. Louis: Saunders/Elsevier.
- Kupperschmidt, B. R. (2012). Conflicts at Work? Try Care fronting. Journal of Christian Nursing, 25(1), 1
- Zeinhom, M., Higazee, A. (2015). Types and levels of conflicts experienced by nurses in the hospital settings. Health Science Journal, 9(6), 1.