Exploration of staff conflicts in hospitals with a focus on hospital management conflict resolution practices in selected department of Trident town clinic of Kalumbila district, Zambia.

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Lweleka, Chinguli Ronald
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The University of Zambia
The overarching focus of this study was to explore hospital management conflict resolution practices in selected departments in Trident town clinic of Kalumbila district, Zambia. Precisely, the study sought to explore the sources of conflicts between and among individuals in hospitals, find out the types of conflict resolution skills possessed by responsible officers managing staff conflicts in hospitals. Furthermore, the study was predicated on ascertaining the strategies deployed for managing and resolving conflict in hospital and finally, the study explored challenges hospital management faced in resolving conflicts. A case study research design was used with a qualitative approach. The study purposefully sampled 30 participants from the four selected departments of Trident town clinic of Kalumbila district. Semi-structured interview guide and Focus Group discussion guide were used as data collection instruments as well as document review checklist. Thematic approach was applied to analyse the data after coding. The findings revealed that sources of conflicts included: personal differences in age, sex and education background. With regards to conflict resolution skills, findings revealed that, hospital managers and their disciplinary committee members lacked advanced qualification in Management and administration or any other discipline which deals with conflict resolution and management. However, most of the management members had undergone some guidance and counselling which still give them some ability to deal with conflict among staff members. Strategies employed the findings revealed that, arbitration, negotiation, avoidance, smoothing, authoritative were among those utilized. The study also found out challenges including: uncooperative people and lack of universal fitting strategy. The study concluded that, managers and their disciplinary committees need to study the causes carefully and transform them into peace and harmony grounds to curb future conflicts and work on addressing needs of the aggrieved. The study made four recommendations: Hospital managers to be alert on the causes of conflict and address them in their infancy. Workshops be organised to train members of staff in basic conflict management strategies like negotiation, smoothing and avoidance in order to avoid a series of conflict cases to be addressed by the disciplinary committee always even those that could have ended at negotiation stage. Then management to pay attention to development of camps and listen to the needs of officers as a neglect of them had potential to result into serious conflicts.
Conflict resolution. , Conflicts and reconciliation. , Conflict management.