CASE STUDY: THE OPPOSING FORCES

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Helen Wilson was hired from outside of the hospital to be the new business office manager. She accepted the job even having heard that it was something of a hot seat; she would be the fifth person in the position in barely three years.

Although Helen did not know reasons for the short stays of her predecessors, it took her very little time to decide that the atmosphere in the department was definitely unhealthy. Her staff appeared to be split among several factions each of which was clearly at odds with one or more of the others. The groups were divided along the lines of race and national origin, and the members of each group tended to cluster together while working, hang together during lunch times and breaks, and in general behave as though each was a small sub-department within the larger entity.

From her first day on the job it was apparent to Helen that many of the department’s problems were owing to communications barriers among groups. She tried scheduling department staff meetings for the purpose of improving communication, but each such gathering found her frustrated because she could barely get any of the factions to speak with her let alonetalk with the other groups.

After one particularly frustrating meeting Helen was approached by a person who appeared to be an informal leader of the department’s largest faction. This individual said to Helen “You’ll never get anything done this way. There’s lots of distrust in the department, and the only way you’re going to accomplish anything is to meet with each group separately.”

Questions:

1. Would you advise Helen to meet with each group separately, as suggested? Why, or why not?

2. How do you suggest that Helen begin an effort to disband the “opposing forces?”

3. Offer a few suggestions for Helen to consider in working with her unhealthily divided department over the coming weeks and months.

Instructions:

Describe in detail what you would do if you were in Helen’s situation. Use the questions above to guide your analysis. Written responses should range in length from 250-350words. Your response should be thoughtfully organized and free from typos. Post your response under the appropriate Discussion Board thread before Thursday at 11:59pm. Postings are worth 10 points total. For full credit, you must cite at least one page in our textbook or other reference material (journal article, website, Power Point slides, etc.). Use APA style citations.

You also need to provide feedback to two classmates’ postings before Saturday at 11:59pm. Responses to classmates should be 100-150 words per response and are worth 5 points each.

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