Develop a list of potential strategies available to Harry Medcar to handle the conflict that has emerged at the South Shore General Hospital.

2. Develop a list of potential strategies available to Harry Medcar to handle the conflict that has emerged at the South Shore General Hospital. 

3. Be as creative as possible in developing the list of conflict resolution techniques.

SOUTH SHORE GENERAL: Is there room for a negotiated settlement?

South Shore General is a 500-bed hospital in southern New Jersey state. Over the past few months, the hospital has felt the growing need to devote more resources to the selection, development, and maintenance of its staff. This is consistent with the philosophy of the Executive Director, John Moore, and the training on the organizational value that the hospital has experienced in the past two years. Increasing pressures have motivated the Executive Director to consider ways in which human resources management can be better structured. He would like all departments in the South Shore to make greater use of the human resources function and at the same time ensure constant quality services in the hospital.

Unfortunately, the decision seems to be more complex than originally intended and as a result requires assistance from the Executive Committee, a committee that is under the direct responsibility of the Executive Director. In the past, the Executive Committee has established policies and managed the structural issues of the institution. The Executive Director considers that involvement in the hospital’s decision-making process is part of his effort to empower employees. Before taking any action, the Executive Director expects the Executive Committee to evaluate all relevant information and make recommendations based on that information.

At present, five people are members of the Executive committee: Paul Lucas, director of special projects; Mary Livingston, director of Dietetics; Janet Hill, director of nursing; Robert Farr, Administrative coordinator and Harry Medcar, medical director. Paul Lucas is currently serving as the official Director of the Executive Committee. The present meeting is the fifth, and members expect it to be the last, on the subject. During the previous four meetings, members discussed the goals of the Committee, the terms, the pros and cons of centralized versus decentralized administration, and several possible recommendations for submitting to John Moore, the Executive Director . However, each time the committee members meet they are more aware that they disagree and that they will find it very difficult to reach a decision.

During this meeting, Harry Medcar suggests that the committee has already devoted enough time to discussing the structure of the human resources function and that all have had sufficient time to study the alternatives and have adequately assessed the advantages and Disadvantages of each alternative. Harry favors a centralized human resource function. He bases his opinion on the following reasons:

1. The hospital is very small to require a completely decentralized function.

2. Owing to increasing pressure from a system of equitable pay and the desire to protect individual rights, a highly centralized function provides the necessary coordination to achieve these objectives. 

3. A completely decentralized system tends to be considerably more costly to operate and maintain. Most of the hospitals that have taken that route clearly express that the benefits need to be greater than the cost increases, that is, by the increase in personnel, the greater time needed to coordinate decentralized functions, etc. 

4. Given the greater importance of staff selection, individual rights, empowerment and affirmative action programmes, a centralized function tends to increase the credibility and visibility of the role of human resources.

Harry thinks a majority within the Committee agrees with him. In addition, members already sound repetitive; So he asks for a vote. But to his surprise, the situation did not happen as he expected. Janet started talking favorably about the decentralized function. She made a great effort to criticize Harry’s ideas and alleged that Moore, the executive director, wants a decentralized function. Robert Farr reflected Janet’s very feelings. To emphasize his support for a decentralized human resource role, Robert claimed that he would be willing to give control of the staff role. Mary Livingston, however, agrees with Harry’s arguments and favors a centralized function. Unfortunately, Paul Lucas indicates that right now he doesn’t know what to decide.          

           The dam causes the parties to turn more and more emotionally on the issue and their own views on it. The last 20 minutes of the meeting turned into a shouting encounter between those who led the opposite viewpoints: Janet Hill by a decentralized system and Harry Medcar by a centralized one. Both are very upset with Paul’s inability to make a decision. The Committee is terminating the meeting without a decision and without setting another moment for the next meeting.

After the meeting, Harry reflects on the events that gave rise to the present conflict. He feels very bad and thinks something must be done. Moreover, John Moore expects a quick decision, so Harry believes that a way to solve the dam must be found. With a pen in his hand, Harry sits down with Mary Livingston and three of his closest collaborators to develop a group of strategies to help reach agreement on a centralized or semi centralized human resource role.

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