This case study illustrates the crisis faced by the president of Lincoln Hospital, a for-profit hospital that had several hundred beds to fill. A number of issues are occurring at the hospital impacting the ability of the hospital to successfully perform the planned surgeries without incurring significant issues. These issues include high turnover, scheduling issues, service delays, and a divided staff. Worst of all, however, the doctors and nurses are at war. Specifically, Don, the new chief of surgery, is at war with Mary, the veteran OR director.
Don and the other surgeons want Mary fired from her job but the president is unwilling to remove Mary from her position. The president is faced with a difficult choice. Therefore, he directed Mary and Don to come together and resolve their problems. A skilled consultant was brought in as a neutral third party. The third-party facilitation intervention designed to help Don and Mary improve their working relationship included perceptions sharing, problem identification, contracting, and follow-up (Cummings 301). Specifically, Mary and Don responded in writing to three questions:
1.What does he or she do well? 2. What do I think I do that bugs him or her? 3. What does he or she do that bugs me The mere act of answering the question seems to soften each towards understanding their part in the problem. Then they share their answers with each other with the practitioner present. Hearing the answer to the first question of what they did well softens them further and paves the way to resolve their differences. The two then agree on changes they were willing to make to their own behavior and practices and agreed on ways to support the other to be successful.
Analysis Contracting and diagnosis stages In the contracting stage the OD consultant should have started by clarifying the organizational issue by interviewing all affected parties, in a collaborative fashion, to understand all the issues, analyze them, and draw conclusions for action planning and intervention. The OD consultant did not diagnose the problem but rather received the information second hand. He should have talked with either Mary or Don prior to establishing the contract with Lincoln Hospital’s President. The contracting process should
include all parties, which would be inclusive of Mary and Don. This ensures they all have an input into establishing expectations for the process in terms of the desired outcomes, establish ground rules that all parties could abide by, and agree upon the time and resources that would be devoted to completing the goals within the given constraints. The OD practitioner should not have negotiated a psychological contract with Lincoln’s president. “Regardless of the level of formality, all OD processes require some form of explicit contracting that result in either a verbal or written agreement” (Cummings 79).
There was no agreement regarding the time to resolve the issues, or the acceptable solutions versus unacceptable solutions, other than the solution must include ongoing employment for both Mary and Don. Third-Party Intervention Effectiveness The third-party intervention was an appropriate intervention in this case. The process of writing things down was helpful as it reduced the friction between the two parties. Also, the questions required specific answers concerning behaviors, not subjective generalizations about personalities.
By requiring that Mary and Don explain the responses to the questions orally to the third party, the consultant was able to avoid hostility between the two parties. The technique of defining responsibilities for each action item made both parties jointly responsible for resolving each problem and get Mary and Don see past their differences and work together to resolve the issues in a productive way. This technique allowed Mary and Don, to take ownership for the issues that resulted and changes the way they relate and interact with each other.
It provided the ability to collaborate in the solutions and accept mutual responsibility for their part in the situation. Other Types of Intervention Other possible interventions may include utilization of process consultations and team building events. Process consultations focus on the interpersonal relations and the social dynamics between groups. The team building intervention assists groups in working to evaluate their processes as well as establishing solutions to resolve problems. Recommendations Process consultation should occur to ensure that Mary, Don, and the rest of the hospital staff are still making the needed progress.
Regular meetings should be initiated for Mary with her staff to develop ways to improve their working relationships with each other, as well as with difficult physicians, and to address improvements needed in the OR. Through the concerted effort of all concerned, who were willing to take personal responsibility for their own actions, the morale and working climate among surgical personnel, as well as hospital medical staff in general, will be significantly improved. Works Cited Cummings, T. G. , & Worley, C. G. Organization development and change. 9th edition. South-Western Cengage Learning, 2009. Print.