A Strategic Approach for Managing Conflict in Hospitals: Responding to the Joint Commission Leadership Standard, Part 1

Charity Scott, Debra Gerardi
2011 Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety  
T he Joint Commission adopted new leadership accreditation standards, effective January 1, 2009, for conflict management in hospitals. One of the standards, LD.02.04.01, requires that "the hospital manages conflict between leadership groups to protect the quality and safety of care" 1 (Sidebar 1, page 60). This standard is one of numerous accreditation standards and alerts issued by The Joint Commission in recent years that address conflict and communication (Table 1 , page 61). Taken together,
more » ... they underscore the significant impact of relational dynamics on patient safety and quality of care, as well as the critical need for a strategic approach to conflict in health care organizations.* To date, very little has been published describing hospital adoption of conflict management systems across the hospital enterprise. 2, 3 Most published approaches have focused on particular kinds of conflict, 4 such as employee grievances, 5 patient or family concerns about unanticipated outcomes of care (including alternative approaches for investigation, disclosure, apology, and prevention), 6,7 end-of-life decision making for incapacitated patients, 8 conflicts involving bioethics and the appropriate course of treatment for patients, 9 and management of disruptive practitioners. 10, 11 This fragmented approach suggests that it is time for leaders to think about conflict management strategically. Developing a proactive mind-set and aligning effective conflict management approaches with the overall mission of the organization are the first steps in addressing conflict and its impact on the organization. This two-part set of articles offers leaders a strategic framework for addressing conflict as an essential component of providing safe patient care, with an emphasis on methods for improving organizational conflict competence, particularly at the leadership level. In Part 1, we discuss components of a strategic approach to conflict, the move from conflict avoidance
doi:10.1016/s1553-7250(11)37008-0 pmid:21939133 fatcat:lkhntscp55afhp6nmdeiqfa6ae