Issue that Limits Organizational Outcomes
Atlanta Medical Center is one of the largest and most successful healthcare organizations in Atlanta, Georgia. Since its inception in 1901, as a small church infirmary, it has grown and expanded into what it is today, with a capacity of over 536 beds and 700 physicians. However, its commitment to realize set goals, mission, and vision, has been jeopardized by myriads of organizational conflicts over the years. A common organizational conflict that limits the institution’s outcomes is interpersonal conflict that is in existence among physicians, nurses, other employees, and managers. The fact that Atlanta Medical Center has gone through a series of acquisitions, and purchases over the years has resulted in a poor relationship between physicians and top managers, which has been extended to other staff members including nurses. Continuous interpersonal conflicts in the organization have had adverse effects on employee performance and productivity, and being a for-profit health care organization, Atlanta Medical Center’s revenue generation, and profitability has dwindled over the years prompting its acquisition by other financially stable healthcare organizations (Beheshtifar & Zare, 2013). For instance, the recent acquisition of the organization by Wellstar Health Systems in March, 2016 can be seen as a consequence of the interpersonal conflicts that have jeopardized revenue generation and profitability.
Moreover, interpersonal conflicts in the organization have compromised the quality of service delivered to patients putting patient satisfaction in doubt. Clearly, patient satisfaction plays a crucial role in the success of health care organizations, and Atlanta Medical Center’s reluctance to address the interpersonal conflicts, which could possibly steer the organization’s exit from America’s competitive health care industry. Every health care organization, Atlanta Medical Center included, must realize that interpersonal conflict is one of the major reasons for their dismal performances, and they need to address these issues immediately (Borkowski, 2011).
By solving the in-house interpersonal conflicts, Atlanta Medical will provide healing, support, and comfort as well as maintain the best possible experience for patients and visitors without challenge. It will also become the hospital of choice for the Tri-Cities and South Fulton area, treating patients, visitors, and each other with respect and dignity. All these will be realized within 1-2 months of solving the interpersonal conflicts.
Factors Contributing to Organizational Conflict
From a systemic perspective, there are various factors that contribute to the interpersonal conflicts in Atlanta Medical Center.
Internally, issues or factors that result in interpersonal conflicts in the organization are individual differences and unfair treatment (Wilmot & Hocker, 2001). As already mentioned, individual differences between physicians and top managers of the organization are evident, and these have in one way or the other contributed to interpersonal conflict. Unfair treatment of physicians, nurses, and other employees by top managers cannot be overlooked as there are situations where no rewards are given to them for their exemplary performances.
Externally, stiff competition that Atlanta Medical faces from other health care institutions in Atlanta, such as Emory University Hospital and Northside Hospital has resulted in the lack of motivation among employees, and this has paved the way for interpersonal conflicts.
Structural and relationship issues
As mentioned earlier, Atlanta Medical has gone through a series of acquisitions and purchases that have led to significant structural changes, which in turn, have interfered with the relationship among stakeholders. In fact, with the structural changes, new managers and employers have come on board a move that has worsened the relationship between employers and employees of the organization resulting in interpersonal conflicts between them.
Economic and legal issues
The fact that Atlanta Medical Center has faced economic challenges over the years is seen as an antecedent of frustration among employees. Besides, as per the regulations of the federal and state governments, every healthcare organization has the obligation of meeting every need and demand of employees, something that the organization is far from achieving given the frustration among employees. As such, both economic instability (lack of sufficient funds to run operations) as well as the inability to abide by governmental regulations play a part in interpersonal conflicts in the organization.
One of the greatest challenges in Atlanta Medical is its ineffective organizational structure. Communication and responsibilities are carried out at two levels; top management and employees. However, for several years, the top management has been rocked by power differentials and struggles, which are some of the causes of the incessant interpersonal conflicts. For instance, some of Atlanta Medical’s managers often oppose actions taken by the overall manager, and this jeopardizes cohesion and togetherness, resulting in interpersonal conflicts.
Furthermore, the change in the organization’s top management and leadership has led to a change in organizational culture as new managers embrace new cultural dimensions and perspectives. These cultural changes are not often welcome by some of the organization’s employees prompting disagreements or conflicts between them and top managers (Reynolds et al, 2006).
How the Issues Relate
In the real sense, the mentioned internal, external, structural, economic, and cultural issues all result in individual differences, lack of motivation and poor relationships among stakeholders in Atlanta Medical, highlighting the relationship among them. In other words, internal issues in the organization such as individual differences and unfair treatment could affect employee performance and productivity, which in the long run, could expose the organization to external issues and threats such as competition. Internal and external issues, if not addressed, could pave the way for structural, relationship, economic, legal, power differentials, as well as organizational culture and value issues that may worsen the organization’s interpersonal conflicts.
How the Issues Align/Conflict with Personal Value and Belief Systems
Many have the belief that cooperation and good relationships among stakeholders of healthcare organizations are paramount if organizational objectives are to be achieved. However, the mentioned issues that contribute to interpersonal conflict in Atlanta Medical are in conflict with the already identified belief because they jeopardize cooperation and good relationships among organizational stakeholders (Riaz & Junaid, 2011).
Beheshtifar, M. & Zare, E. (2013). Interpersonal conflict: A substantial factor to organizational failure. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 3(5), 354.
Borkowski, N. (2011). Organizational behavior in health care. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
Reynolds, K. A., Helgeson, V. S., Seltman, H., Janicki, D., Page‐Gould, E. & Wardle, M. (2006). Impact of interpersonal conflict on individuals high in unmitigated communion. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 36(7), 1595-1616.
Riaz, M. K. & Junaid, F. A. (2011). Types, sources, costs & consequences of workplace conflict. Asian Journal of Management Research, 2(1), 600-611.
Wilmot, W. W. & Hocker, J. L. (2001). Interpersonal conflict. New York: McGraw-Hill.