Labour turnover is one of the controllable, but unavoidable situations in any organisation. For example, where labour turnover is caused by workplace conflicts, proper management of such inconsistencies is required. If the situation is not tackled, employment turnover due to destructive workplace conflicts might have serious effects on the performance of an organisation both in the short and long-term.
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High turnover in organisations leads to increased recruitment costs and the training of new employees to fill the gaps that are left by the outgoing employees. Tackling the issue proactively requires organisations to address its causations such as workplace conflicts, poor work morale, and dissatisfaction.
For Lincoln Hospital, failure to retain employees is a significant organisational problem, considering that replacing nurses in the operating rooms has proved problematic. Ensuring effective resource planning and procurement will determine the future success of the hospital.
Lincoln Hospital is interested in bringing about change that can make it profitable in the end. Change management requires the development of an elaborate plan that shows how the various activities will be executed (Ledez, 2008). In this process, organisational diagnosis is important in determining problems that have to be resolved to realise the change.
When called in by Lincoln Hospital’s president to resolve its problems as described in Waddell, Cummings, and Worley’s (2011) case, it is important to implement the change by seeking mechanisms for resolving organisational conflicts. In this process, the first step entails determining the causes and parties in the conflict.
The establishment of the common conflicts of interest then follows before determining any commitment areas where parties can help each other in resolving their differences. While firing both parties that are involved in conflicts may help to resolve some challenges such as the rising turnover due to leadership disgruntlement, such differences are pivotal in enabling the organisation to identify its areas of weakness in its personnel and other resource management areas.
Hence, I will focus on resolving the conflicts by adopting the best inconsistency resolution mechanisms such as cooperation, compromise, competing, and accommodation. Conflict resolution through avoidance emphasises, leaving the conflict unaddressed (Johnson & Keddy, 2010).
Thus, it is inappropriate in the context of Lincoln Hospital’s case study. It implies heightened organisational crises and a deteriorated profitability because of the increased turnover and poor quality service delivery. However, conflict resolution strategies, such as cooperation and accommodation are appropriate.
Challenges that are giving rise to organisational crisis at Lincoln Hospital may be resolved through various strategies. The organisation chooses third-party intervention to bring the parties in conflicts together. This approach involves collaboration.
The appropriateness of the strategy depends on the scholarly and practical evidence on its effectiveness in resolving specific types of organisational conflicts. Collaboration involves coming together to pursue a common goal (Myatt, 2012). During collaboration, effort is made to accommodate all people’s ideas in the attempt to develop a single superior idea that can be implemented to resolve a conflict.
Such an idea also needs to take into consideration all points of agreement and disagreement between the collaborating parties (Bagshaw, 2004). This way, as evidenced by the case study, it becomes possible to break away from the win-lose strategy to explore the win-win approach.
Exploring the win-win strategy in bringing about organisational change requires an incredibly high capacity to trust one another in the development of a superior idea for resolving a conflict. In this extent, the third-party intervention by Lincoln Hospital was effective since it led to the establishment of a neutral point where the parties in conflict vowed to be committed to trusting and working with one another.
The approach is opposed to the competing technique in which the focus is on the win-lose approach to conflict resolution (Myatt, 2012). Competing approaches work well in times of dire need to make quick decisions. If compromising is adopted, parties in the conflict focus on the lose-lose strategy. The approach is best suited whenever parties in conflict pursue goals and objectives, which have no probability of converging. However, Don and Mary’s goals can converge.
Collaboration through third-party intervention remains an appropriate strategy of bringing about change in the organisation. Inferring from Lincoln Hospital’s case, employees are unable to handle misunderstandings with their peers in an effective way before such quarrels translate into personality clashes. Realising this goal calls for the management to look for mechanisms of handling conflicts (Myatt, 2012).
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One of the alternative approaches to the collaborative approach adopted by the Lincoln Hospital involves adopting disciplinary measures for employees who engage in unproductive conflicts. However, before a disciplinary action is adopted, intra-communication and inter-communication are vital. This plan calls for the HR at the hospital to possess good inter-personal and intra-personal communication skills. “These skills are deployed to help in harnessing employees’ personal and social skills that are necessary for conflict resolution” (Masters & Albright, 2002, p.117).
Indeed, interpersonal communication comprises an essential skill in conflict management and in overseeing a change process in the effort to diffuse various stressful environments together with hostile situations, which may create fertile grounds for the development of conflicts and hindrances to change.
Communicating both adequately and effectively is a crucial way of eliminating workplace conflicts. Institute of Leadership and Management (2007) confirms that the availability of adequate and unambiguous information helps employees to collectively support and/or do what is within their capacity to ensure that an organisation succeeds in the direction set by leaders and managers.
In this sense, the goal of an effective communication programme within an organisation is to foster change in employee behaviours and perception towards other employees. Ineffective communication may create personality clashes, such as the case of Don and Mary.
Whether the interest is to resolve organisational conflicts or to rejuvenate Lincoln Hospital’s successful operations, change is necessary. Effecting the desired change in an organisation through communication takes different forms. It involves the harmonisation of attitudes or alteration of work processes in the effort to support an organisation’s success by eliminating any clash of ideas in the manner of executing various job elements, which may be destructive as witnessed in the case of Lincoln Hospital.
Effective communication entails the announcement of success strategies through translation of the essential business objectives and goals into terms that employees can understand easily (Johnson & Keddy, 2010). In response to such communication matters, employees are engaged and aligned to work collectively towards driving organisational success.
In fact, when communication fails, misunderstandings arise, resulting in the failure of employees to execute tasks as desired by their managers, leaders, and/or in the interest of other employees. This situation translates into workplace conflicts between managers, supervisors, and employees as witnessed in the case of Lincoln Hospital.
Discussion of Lessons Learnt
Destructive Conflicts increase Turnover at Lincoln Hospital. Don and Mary engage in destructive conflicts. Doctors and nurses are at war all the time. In some situations, such as the case of Lincoln Hospital, escalated conflicts have the implication of compelling people to quit (Bagshaw, 2004).
Organisations that experience destructive conflicts also encounter challenges of “lower morale, lower productivity, higher turnover, and more employee burnout” (Bacal, 1998, p.8). At Lincoln Hospital, the evident situation of few staff members has led to a tight scheduling with nurses who are still held in some uncompleted tasks, yet doctors seem to be waiting for them elsewhere (Waddell et al., 2011).
This situation leads to reduced morale and burnout. This observation suggests that organisational leaders and managers should focus on eliminating destructive conflicts. They should encourage constructive conflicts in the effort to build higher-performing organisations.
The move will enhance high staff retention levels. If the HR-focused on resolving employee conflicts in time, some staff members would not have left the organisation. Besides, some physicians would not have considered relocating their patients elsewhere.
Productivity of an organisation is a function of employee effectiveness and the availability of appropriate organisational resources. Unavailability of the requisite equipment and uncommitted employees explains the reduced productivity at Lincoln Hospital.
For example, “On several occasions, orthopaedic surgeons had already begun surgery before they realised that the necessary prosthesis (for example, an artificial hip, finger joint or knee joint) was not ready, was the wrong size or had not even been ordered” (Waddell et al., 2011, p.1).
This case had the ramification of delaying theatre services as surgeons waited for equipment from other hospitals. Consequently, workers’ productive time was wasted. The hospital could not conduct optimal number of surgeries due to the unavailability of the equipment and other resources.
Infectiveness was also found among the surgeons who considered themselves more valuable to the organisation than any other people to the extent that they created situations of emergency to increase overtime slots (Waddell et al., 2011). This situation underlined a workforce that lacked a common focus of appreciating the role of teamwork in contributing to the overall organisational success.
The surgeons failed to understand that even though they are important, they could not realise the overall goal and objectives of the hospital alone. They needed the inputs of other people such as the operating room (OR) nurses and even those who did repair and maintenance of the hospital equipment. The conflict between Mary and Don acted as an enormous source of impediment to organisational effectiveness and productivity.
Actions, interventions, and Future Approaches
Drawing from the lessons learnt from the case study, it is important to adopt actions, interventions, and approaches to avoid future organisational challenges. The best approach to preventing future problems entails preventing the occurrence of conflicts between employees and the organisation and/or among the employees. An important action is to develop rules, procedures, and disciplinary actions for employees who breach them.
For example, doctors who create intentional emergencies to advance personal gains need to face appropriate disciplinary actions. Where the organisation suffers from the incapacity to identify a breach of ethical codes of conduct, performance-based pay systems may help to ensure they do not create intentional emergencies.
Performance-based pay is a system of payment in which people are rewarded or paid equivalently to their amount of work or output. Under this system, people work with determination and extra effort to earn optimally. This plan can increase throughput levels of Lincoln Hospital.
Since doctors cannot work optimally without the input of the nurses, there will be a high probability of surgeons creating both intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships with nurses so that they (nurses) can help them (surgeons) to achieve optimal performance for higher pay levels. Since nurses’ work output depends on surgeons’ productivity, high surgeon output translates into high nurse output.
A substantive change requires the creation or alternation of the organisational cultures to appreciate diversity differences so that conflicts such as the one between Mary and Don are not experienced in the future (Amagoh, 2008; McClure, 2004).
Borrowing from experiences with conflicts between these two parties, all other employees need to appreciate that people have different perspectives concerning the analysis of organisational problems or strategies of achieving organisational goals and objectives. Thus, the bottom line in harnessing the differences is to establish points of parity such that all people use their strengths in building success while mitigating the contribution of their weaknesses in inducing destructive conflicts.
Before conflicts can lead to organisational crises, all employees need to have awareness of the likely disciplinary actions for those who attempt to involve other employees in their conflicts (By, 2005). Ineffectiveness in terms of service delivery due to the unavailability of equipment requires the development of an elaborate plan for procuring equipment and other facilities as per the projected demand due to the increased number of customers.
The degree and the willingness of the management to involve employees in conflict resolution through communication may determine the capacity to remain free from destructive conflicts. In the effort to reduce incidents of defiant behaviours, effective management of employees entails communicating effectively the rules and procedures of punishing them (employees) in case of breach of the established rules and regulations that define the codes of ethics and organisational culture.
Grievances and disciplinary actions within an organisation begin with a clear and precise communication of the implications of an employee’s acts of misconduct (Johnson & Keddy, 2010). Interpersonal and intrapersonal communication skills determine the effectiveness of preparing, conducting, and concluding grievances and disciplinary cases.
Increased collaboration between doctors and nurses can measure the effectiveness of the approaches that have been proposed for encouraging teamwork. Performance pay systems should amount to higher throughput levels, including a reduction in waiting times for them to be effective in reducing time wastage by the surgeons who have been creating emergency slots (Waddell et al., 2011).
The effective of equipment procurement and maintenance strategy may be evaluated based on the increased service delivery. With higher availability and reliability levels, it means that surgeries can progress without wasting time while trying to acquire equipment from the nearby hospitals. Availability means that the equipment will be accessible for use for any particular procedure when required.
Reliability means the probability that the equipment will perform optimally until a given surgical procedure is over without any failure. Effective and well-planned procurement procedures ensure that whenever a given component such as an artificial hip joint is required, surgeons can get the correct one.
Obstacles to Implementation
Implementation of any organisational change requires time and financial resources (Amagoh, 2008). For example, ensuring an unprecedented availability of equipment requires the procurement of buffer equipment. This requirement involves committing financial resources to purchasing equipment that may not be in use all the time.
The situation is an obstacle upon considering that Lincoln Hospital is struggling financially due to the high operation costs and poor service delivery akin to the towering turnover levels that stand at 40% (Waddell et al., 2011). Maintenance and procurement of the necessary and timely prosthesis require financial resources. However, such resources are constrained.
Besides, issues such as a change of the organisational culture and/or the creation of appropriate structural changes to facilitate change implementation require time (By, 2005). The challenges of inadequate financial resources can be dealt with by proper planning of the available resources together with increased organisational productivity.
However, increasing productivity requires the commitment of employees to the change. Sometimes, people may resist change in preference to the status quo. This issue can be overcome by incorporating the appropriate leadership techniques such as transformational and emotional intelligence.
Lincoln Hospital is experiencing crises. Change is required to restore its past glory of offering high-quality healthcare services to survive in the competitive industry. The most appropriate changes involve those that ensure that the hospital becomes more profitable.
Lincoln Hospital needs to change its practices in terms of procurement and/or managing of employee conflicts. This change will guarantee high reliability and availability of equipment. It will also reduce worker turnover. A preventive approach to the management of employee conflicts is the most appropriate compared to a reactive approach.
The organisation has experienced problems such as reduced competitive advantage, high turnover, and poor service delivery that are associated with reactive approaches to organisational conflicts and crisis management.
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