• October 11th, 2017

Case Study 14-7 Conflict-Handling Styles

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Case Study 14-7 Conflict-Handling Styles
For each of the five scenarios described below, determine what is the most appropriate conflict handling
style(s).
Scenario One
A radiologist on the staff of a large community hospital was stopped after a staff meeting by a
colleague in internal medicine. On Monday of the previous week, the internist referred an elderly
man with chronic, productive cough for chest X-ray, with a clinical diagnosis of bronchitis. Thursday
morning the internist received the radiologist’s written X-ray report with a diagnosis of “probable
bronchogenic carcinoma.” The internist expressed his dismay that the radiologist had not
called him much earlier with a verbal report. Visibly upset, the internist raised his voice, but did
not use abusive language.

How should the radiologist handle this conflict with the internist?

Scenario Two
The Family and Community Medicine Division of a large-staff model HMO serves a population
that is ethnically diverse. The senior management team of the HMO, spurred by repeated complaints
from representatives of one racial group, has encouraged the division, all of whose physicians
are white, to diversify. Several black and Hispanic physicians with strong credentials apply
for the open positions, but none is hired. Weeks later, a young female family physician learns from
several colleagues that the division director has identified her as racist and the obstructionist to
recruiting. The comments attributed to her are not only false but are also typical of discriminatory
statements that she has heard the division chief utter. The rumors about her “behavior” have
circulated widely in the division.

How should the young female family physician handle this conflict with the division chief?

Scenario Three
A manager who reports to the Vice President for Clinical Affairs (VPCA) of a tertiary-care hospital
hired a young woman to supervise development of a large community outreach program.
During the first four months of her employment, several behavioral problems came to the VPCA’s
attention: (1) complaints from community physicians that the coordinator criticizes other physicians
in public; (2) concerns from two community leaders that the coordinator is not truthful; and
(3) written reports about the project that label and blame others, sometimes in language that is
disrespectful. The VPCA spoke several times to the manager about these problems. The manager
reported other dissatisfactions with the coordinator’s performance, but he showed no sign of dealing
with the behavior. Two more complaints come in, one from an influential community leader.

How should the VPCA handle this conflict with the manager?

Scenario Four
The medical school in an academic health center recently implemented a problem-based curriculum,
dramatically reducing the number of lectures given and substituting small-group learning
that focuses on actual patient cases. Both clinical and basic science faculty are feeling
stretched in their new roles. In the past, dental students took the basic course in microanatomy
with medical students. The core lectures are still given but at different times that do not match
with the dental-curriculum schedule. The anatomists insist that they don’t have time to teach
another course specifically for dental students. The dean has informed the chair of the Department
of Anatomy and Cell Biology that some educational revenues will be redirected to the dental
school if the faculty do not meet this need.

How should the dean handle this conflict with the chair of the Department of Anatomy and Cell
Biology?

Scenario Five
The partners in a medical group practice are informed by the clinic manager that one physician
member of the group has been repeatedly upcoding procedures for a specific diagnosis. This issue
first came to light six months ago. At that time the partners met with him, clarified the Medicare
guidelines, and outlined the threat to the practice for noncompliance. He argued with their view,
but ultimately agreed to code appropriately. There were no infractions for several months, but
now he has submitted several erroneous codes. One member of the office staff has asked whether
Medicare would consider this behavior “fraudulent.”

How should the partners handle the situation with the other physician partner?

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