Choice and action frame determinants of conflict and conflict management intent of hospital middle managers

John James Lynch, Marquette University


Hospitals are examining new management strategies to cope with a variety of economic pressures. Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI), which is credited with establishing Japan as an international economic power, is a management strategy which has and continues to accumulate wide hospital support. For hospital middle managers, CQI has changed how they and their peers function. Under CQI, middle managers are considered key players who are empowered to identify, analyze and resolve problems within their area of responsibility. Each manager brings a unique decision style to the problem solving process. This style is not random or arbitrary but has been developed over time. However, this style may be quite different from the decision style of others and a potential source of interpersonal conflict. This study sought to address several research questions: Is decision making style a potential source of interpersonal conflict? Is decision making style related to conflict management intent? Are particular conflict management intents characteristic of particular decision making styles when dealing with particular conflictual situations? Middle managers at five private, nonprofit, acute care Milwaukee hospitals participated in the study. Subjects were asked to complete a research packet which included a case study, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Organization Communication Conflict Instrument (OCCI). Several repeated measure MANOVA's were performed to analyze the resulting data. This study found hospital middle manager decision making styles to be consistent with those of health care executives. As a whole, these middle managers reported interpersonal conflict with peer managers that possessed decision styles similar to their own. The preferred method of managing peer-initiated conflict was to try to solve the conflict rather than avoid or control it. With few exceptions, potential interpersonal conflicts and conflict management intents could not be predicted from decision making style. It is recommended that future research involve: a more heterogeneous subject sample, the use of interactive designs, further investigation of the influence of rank, and closer examination of whether conflict is indeed counterproductive.

Recommended Citation

Lynch, John James, "Choice and action frame determinants of conflict and conflict management intent of hospital middle managers" (1994). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9433782.