A thesis for the Georgetown University Master of Arts in Conflict Management by Paul Charlton, B.A. titled “Indicators of success: an exploration of successful conflict management in U.S. hospital settings” can be found on the Georgetown University website.
The paper examines the definition of success in managing healthcare conflicts. The paper divides conflict into four categories based on the parties involved and introduces a framework for analyzing dynamics of the different conflict management systems used in healthcare. The categories of parties involved include: patient-provider; provider-provider; provider-administration and patient-payer. Literature reviews and interviews with ten conflict management practitioners in the healthcare setting helped Mr. Charlton analyze the four categories and determine key features of the conflicts and the responses to conflict associated with them. The interviews explored “definitions of success, clarified training and research needs, and identified emerging trends in the field”.
A summary of the paper states:Important trends in healthcare conflict management identified by the research include a shift away from interest-based negotiation models towards relationship-based approaches to conflict management; a reorientation towards prevention and early intervention, raising expectations that healthcare providers take the lead on conflict engagement and increasingly supplanting third-party intervention models; a push to include conflict management training in health professional schools; and utilization of a nested training-mentoring-communities of practice approach to developing healthcare providers’ conflict management skills.
Mr. Charlton’s research includes the suggestions that positive benefit of conflict management in healthcare can be obtained by increasing collaboration between healthcare providers and ADR professionals on training design, integrating conflict management systems with Human Resources and leadership, and ensuring conflict management systems are visible and understood by staff.