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Group Productivity Improvement in Hospitals Research Paper


Introduction

Health care is one of the largest industries in the USA and is growing rather quickly due to the creation of new facilities and the necessity to increase the size of medical staff to meet patients’ needs. Numerous professionals operate within the health care framework, including physicians, nurses, therapists, and pharmacologists, etc. With the development of the health care sphere, the number of services they provide has increased greatly. Nevertheless, they all can be included in four major groups: diagnostic, healing, rehabilitation, and preventive. The constituents of health care are:

  • Patients. Consumers of health care services.
  • Providers. Institutions and medical staff who provide services.
  • Payers. Institutions and individuals who pay for health care services.
  • Vendors. Enterprises that sell medical devices and products.

The representatives of the general public often associate the health care industry with general hospitals. General hospitals offer the widest range of services and are not focused on a particular type of care. To provide patients with high-quality services, the medical staff needs to cooperate and share information. Thus, they are often organized into groups, also known as health care teams. It is vital for them to engage in true collaboration because it ensures the most effective and efficient decision-making concerning specific needs for diagnosis, treatment, and care.

Unfortunately, group productivity in AAA hospital is facing several issues currently, including:

  • Role conflicts within groups.
  • Communication problems among group members.
  • Lack of cohesiveness in groups with diverse members.
  • Excessive intergroup conflict.

Even though the personnel of AAA hospitals is experiencing role and intergroup conflicts, communication problems, and lack of cohesiveness, they can improve their performance if the management considers the most appropriate resolutions and provides company-wide training.

Role Conflicts within Groups

It is beneficial for health care organizations to organize their workers in groups because in this way professionals have the opportunity to perform the roles that are most aligned with their preferred duties and do not interfere with one another. Unfortunately, they may be forced to perform incompatible roles. This development might be explained by a lack of personnel, for instance. As a result, affected individuals face role conflicts.

Both departments and groups of professionals find themselves unable to cooperate efficiently. As a consequence, treatments needed by consumers will not be facilitated. Employees who work in a hospital need to maintain cohesiveness because they will not be able to share tasks appropriately without it. Moreover, role conflicts prevent the establishment of mutual respect and trust, which are vital elements of positive relationships. Also, role conflicts may interfere with the desire of medical staff to share information concerning a patient’s care. For instance, if a patient needs some tests that are conducted by different groups, he or she may feel lost and neglected, as the professional medical staff does not share the same information about his or her condition.

This problem can be observed in AAA hospital because its physicians and nurses are forced to maintain conflicting roles. On the one hand, they are supposed to be co-workers who cooperate without any issues and are always ready to assist. On the other hand, they are also expected to be supervisors and monitor each other. In other words, they are supposed to notice mistakes and limitations and report them to the management (Kilroy, Flood, Bosak, & Chenevert, 2016). However, both of these roles can hardly be performed simultaneously without adversely affecting their quality.

Role conflict in such a setting as a hospital is always a complicated issue because it not only affects the possibility of reaching the desired goal but also increases the risk of poor health outcomes for patients. This issue comes about because the obligations faced by the staff in the group framework they belong to are not the same. Research conducted within the AAA hospital revealed that the majority of its staff members have a wide range of responsibilities, and some of them are conflicting, which decreases the productivity of the entire group.

For instance, a manager of AAA hospital is expected to cooperate with the representatives of the medical staff to ensure that consumers are treated in the best possible way. However, at the same time, he is supposed to supervise the medical staff. In dealing with the necessity to work with people and assist them, the manager also needs to report their underperformance and discuss sanctions or interventions to address it. In this way, a manager can become frustrated and angry, which can affect his or her relations with the rest of the employees. Also, perceptions of authority can decline.

Role conflicts can be reduced with the help of supervision. Particular employees can be trained to identify and modify inappropriate behaviors. As a result, those workers who need to cooperate will not supervise one another (Simpao, 2013). In addition to that, it is advantageous to develop appropriate organizational policies that allow employees to focus on the roles most closely aligned with their duties.

Communication Problems among Group Members

Communication is crucial for cooperation among employees. That is why it is vital to ensure that each group member has a voice during discussions and participates in the decision-making process. Unfortunately, a lack of unity may have an adverse influence on personnel relations and performance. It is important to provide each professional with the possibility to share his or her considerations regarding a particular topic.

Both senior and junior group members should provide feedback regarding the perceived situation so that the reporter feels valued. To ensure proper communication, hospitals should conduct surveys and encourage their workers to communicate within groups and with other departments. Moreover, each working team should have a leader who deals with these issues (Brewer, & Holmes, 2016). As a result, they can strengthen the department and improve its performance.

In AAA hospital, the leaders rarely involve employees in the decision-making process, especially when dealing with some important issues. Moreover, medical staff adds that even when their opinions are asked, they are rarely considered in the final resolution. In this way, communication breaks down.

Communication problems are observed between physicians and nurses extremely often. Unfortunately, their consequences are the most critical ones as well, because they influence the way treatment is provided to patients and affects health outcomes. As physicians order particular interventions and nurses provide them, it is vital to ensure that all professionals understand each other completely.

If doctors’ instructions seem to be ambiguous, nurses may waste time critical for a patient with identifying what should be done and how. Similarly, if a patient’s status changes, some professionals may not be aware of it. Moreover, communication problems may arise because the majority of the professionals who work in hospitals perform their duties according to a particular schedule, within which shifts are changing.

As a result, nurses do not have an opportunity to share all the information they obtain about patients. Their notes regarding the specifics of treatment do not cover all interventions or additional information that can be significant for further treatment. As a result, the consumer’s medication can be affected, which may also influence health outcomes. If expected care is not provided when needed or a nurse does not know that the dosage was altered, a patient’s condition can worsen.

Communication problems faced by physicians and nurses can be improved in several ways. For instance, the management of AAA hospitals may consider the possibility of developing a committee that will ensure that all employees participate in the decision-making process. It would be advantageous if they conducted a survey and identified currently existing issues that have been noticed by staff members.

Based on their feedback, leaders in each department should be selected to deal with communication-related issues. These leaders will do everything needed to ensure that everyone is open to communication. Tuckman’s group process can be used as the basis for this initiative (Brewer & Holmes, 2016). In particular, its performing stage should be considered. It would also be advantageous to gather employees’ opinions regarding various issues and interventions regularly. This can be conducted through e-mail so that it will be convenient for every person involved to participate.

As a result, the Hawthorne effect can be observed, and staff members will improve their performance (Schlegel, Woermann, Shaha, Rethans, & van der Vleuten, 2012). Of course, the leaders selected by the management should have enough power to implement changes based on the surveys they conduct. Needless to say, any negative influences should be avoided. When needed changes are identified, it is vital to provide a rationale for their implementation. The leaders should think of employees’ feedback and the advantages and disadvantages of practice and the communication process.

Lack of Cohesiveness in Groups with Diverse Members

As a rule, management encourages workers to perform their duties effectively and cohesively with one another. Leaders of organizations typically believe that cohesiveness ensures that their employees do their best and can reach all desired goals. Moreover, it also means that they are headed in the right direction, which can be treated as evidence of the management’s competence and efficiency. Employees’ cohesiveness has many advantages.

The most critical advantage is that it can reduce conflicts in the workplace, thus improving organizational culture and relationships between the personnel (Palmer & Kawakami, 2014). Nevertheless, cohesiveness is not always present. Work teams that lack cohesion and do not align themselves with others can hardly cooperate with the rest of the employees to accomplish all their tasks and reach organizational goals successfully.

Considering the work in the hospital, the various groups of medical staff need to perform their duties cohesively, thus providing their patients with the opportunity to obtain the best possible service and reach positive health outcomes. Unfortunately, some employees are not willing to associate with others because they believe that they are better than the rest of the workers. In AAA hospital, some physicians are too proud to cooperate with nurses.

They prefer working alone because in this way no one will interfere with their prescriptions. Even though they work hard, these doctors tend to do almost nothing when performing in a group. As a result, their actions have negative effects on the quality of provided services. However, they fail to realize that by working cohesively with other members of the medical staff, they would be able to receive social support and increase motivation levels.

Employees who work in cohesive groups are always in sync, following shared values and regulations that affect and define their behavior (De Wit, Greer, & Jehn, 2012). Unfortunately, in AAA hospital some physicians and nurses reveal an unwillingness to observe rules that were not set by the whole organization and its management, but by a work team. Instead, they try to develop their guidelines and expect others to accept them. As a result, there is a lack of cohesiveness and, as a result, a loss of motivation.

To increase cohesiveness, the management should ensure that its employees are motivated and that they do not need to compete with one another. Even though healthy competition can have a positive influence on performance, an emphasis on cohesive relationships is likely to provide more advantages.

Also, proper communication between group members should be promoted for them to feel comfortable when cooperating. It is also beneficial to encourage employees to attend the same recreational activities (sports, theatre, etc.) because doing so can improve their relationships.

Excessive Intergroup Conflict

The management of any organization does its best to ensure that its employees do not have serious conflicts because conflicts have a negative influence on the overall performance of the company. Nevertheless, excessive intergroup conflict is sometimes observed. It may occur if the leaders of an organization fail to manage conflict appropriately or if the employees involved in the conflict are not willing to accept a compromise. In diverse groups, workers tend to have problems because of differences in culture and experience (Martínez-Tur, Peñarroja, Serrano, Hidalgo, & Moliner, 2014). As a result, they cannot perform their duties as expected and have poor communication.

In AAA hospital, excessive intergroup conflict is observed because of unequal reward structures. Also, there was a situation when a nurse neglected a doctor’s prescriptions, which led to complications. As a result, there was a conflict between the nurse and the physician.

Intergroup conflict can be resolved if the management shows respect for diversity and individual ideas. Each team member should be treated equally. Communication options should be increased. It can be advantageous to create a forum for a group to get in touch at any time. Regular discussions should be conducted to consider the thoughts of every member. Flexibility and the possibility of reaching a consensus should be encouraged. Finally, conflicts should not be ignored. It is vital to gather all group members and discuss issues with them to find a mutual solution.

Final Suggestions

To minimalize and overcome existing problems, AAA hospital should consider the possibility of establishing a company-wide training program. Group productivity is vital for this setting because employee performance affects not only the organization but also its consumers. Therefore the program should educate leaders to focus on every employee, noticing their significance and rewarding it.

In this framework, it is important to train the management to allocate tasks appropriately, ensuring that those roles that the personnel has do not interfere with one another. Nurses and physicians, in their turn, should be taught to schedule their work time so that they perform their duties logically and without combining conflicting activities. Moreover, they should know whom to approach if role conflicts occur so that they can be resolved as soon as possible.

More attention should be paid to appropriate communication. All staff members should be trained to treat one another with respect. They should learn how to avoid and resolve conflicts, reaching a consensus that satisfies everyone (Schlegel et al., 2012). It would be advantageous to create a feedback system (even allowing anonymous comments) and teach personnel to use it. In this way, they will be able to share their thoughts without being afraid to speak up.

It would also be advantageous to include training that focuses on teamwork. For instance, by gathering in groups, nurses and physicians can discuss particular case studies. In discussing their actions, professionals will learn to listen to one another, consider the ideas of every team member, and improve their relationships.

Finally, this training program can include those tasks that require staff members to cooperate to accomplish them. In this way, they will have the opportunity to become a cohesive and efficient team whose members understand one another and make decisions based on the ideas of every person involved in the discussion.

Conclusion

Therefore it can be concluded that AAA hospital faces a range of problems that are decreasing its group productivity. To resolve them and avoid them in the future, the management should ensure that all employees cooperate appropriately and that nothing prevents them from reaching organizational goals and initiatives. Hospital staff should receive appropriate training on how to communicate effectively and avoid intergroup problems.

They need to learn to respond to one another and to act individually in ways that contribute to the group’s goals. Nevertheless, every employee needs to acquire a sense of accountability because each member has a critical impact on the overall team performance.

References

Brewer, E., & Holmes, T. (2016). Better communication = better teams: A communication exercise to improve team performance. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 59(3), 288.

De Wit, F., Greer, L., & Jehn, K. (2012). The paradox of intragroup conflict: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 97(2), 360-390.

Kilroy, S., Flood, P., Bosak, J., & Chenevert, D. (2016). Perceptions of high-involvement work practices and burnout: The mediating role of job demands. Human Resource Management Journal, 26(4), 408-424.

Martínez-Tur, V., Peñarroja, V., Serrano, M., Hidalgo, V., & Moliner, C. (2014). Intergroup conflict and rational decision making. PLoS One, 9(12), e114013.

Palmer, D., & Kawakami, A. (2014). Tie formation and cohesiveness in a loosely organized group: knitting together. The Qualitative Report, 19(41), 1-14.

Schlegel, C., Woermann, U., Shaha, M., Rethans, J., & van der Vleuten, C. (2012). Effects of communication training on real practice performance: A role-play module versus a standardized patient module. Journal of Nursing Education, 51(1), 16-22.

Simpao, A. (2013). Conflict management in the health care workplace. Physician Executive, 39(6), 54-58.

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IvyPanda. "Group Productivity Improvement in Hospitals." November 8, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/group-productivity-improvement-in-hospitals/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Group Productivity Improvement in Hospitals." November 8, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/group-productivity-improvement-in-hospitals/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Group Productivity Improvement in Hospitals'. 8 November.

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