Treating Conflict: The Adoption of a Conflict Management system in a Hospital Setting

Ariel C. Avgar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose-This chapter explores the adoption and implementation of a conflict management system (CMS) in a hospital setting. In particular, it uncovers the different motivations and challenges associated with a CMS across various stakeholders within the organization. Methodology/approach-The chapter is based on qualitative research conducted in a large American hospital that adopted and implemented a CMS over the course of 15 months. The author conducted extensive interviews with stakeholders across the organization, including top management, union leaders, middle managers, clinicians, and frontline staff. Findings are also based on an array of observations, including stakeholder meetings and conflict management sessions. Findings-The case study demonstrates the centrality of underexplored, generalizable, and industry-specific pressures that may lead organizations to reconsider their use of traditional dispute resolution practices and to institute a CMS. It also highlights the inherent organizational ambivalence toward the design and adoption, initiation and implementation, and routine use of a CMS and it documents the different types of outcomes delivered to various stakeholders. Originality/value-The chapter provides a nuanced portrait of the antecedents to and consequences of the transformation of conflict management within one organization. It contributes to the existing body of research exploring the 30-year rise of alternative dispute resolution and CMSs in a growing proportion of firms in the United States. The use of an in-depth case-study method to examine this CMS experience offers a number of important insights, particularly regarding different stakeholder motivations and outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-246
Number of pages36
JournalAdvances in Industrial and Labor Relations
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Conflict Management System
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Healthcare
  • Ombuds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management

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