Dealing With the problem of Low Morale at the Mater District Hospital
Document Type:Research Paper
Aside from simple problems, Dörner and Funke (2017) define a complex problem as a cognitive and emotional process that is strongly dependent on emotions. Complex problem solving is a multidimensional bundle of competencies that exist at a high level of abstraction but related to intelligence. In the real world, the ability of the human mind to solve complex problems compared to the size of the problem that requires objectivity to arrive at a solution is very minimal. Eseryel et al. (2014, 87) posit that specific goals and barriers characterize both simple and complex problems and the degree of success depends on the ability to overcome the obstacles which may prevent the immediate achievement of the set objectives. At first, it seemed to be a difficult task for me to find out why the hospital was losing clients as well as their staff which threatened the hospital’s performance because this was my first challenging task given to me.
In this case, I decided to engage all stakeholders to help me identify the problem and find a solution to it. I started engaging the unit managers, and after a critical analysis of the situation and the application of classical brainstorming on several topics, we realized that low morale amongst the nurses was the main problem affecting the organization. At first, the challenge seemed to be a morale problem, but as I engaged with other stakeholders, the issue turned out to be complicated. For instance, the human resource manager disclosed to me that the nurses’ morale was low at all times. Furthermore, Fard, Ghatari, and Hasiri (2010) established that organizations which encourage high morale have employees with higher job honorability, job satisfaction, commitment to their work, and objective oriented among others.
On the contrary, Monks, Kelly, Conway, Flood, Truss, and Hannon (2013) say that low morale can have disastrous effects to an organization, including losing a significant amount of profits and productivity due to low morale. Additionally, Millet (2010) establishes that low morale at the workplace may cause a deficiency in productivity, strikes, increased job absenteeism, and refusal to offer services among other effects. Problem statement The underlying complexity at the Mater District Hospital, necessitated the stakeholders to agree that there was a need to have a one-day workshop to enlighten the management on how to deal with the problem of low morale at the hospital within the next one year. Boundary Setting Section Importance of boundary setting Boundary refers to the constraints that are likely to affect a researcher’s decision-making process.
Economic environment The Mater District Hospital was affected by inflation and higher interest rates in America and across the world. These conditions changed the purchasing power of the consumers, and as a result, the financial performance of the facility was also affected thus, making it hard for the hospital to pay the doctors on time. Social environment The Mater District Hospital lost their primary focus on the main customers the hospital service, values, and cultural considerations of their employees. Technological environment Technological advancement in the healthcare industry has changed significantly. At the Mater District Hospital, the communication facilities outdated and bureaucratic processes which hampered effective communication among different stakeholders. • Good reputation for innovation. • Poor internal communication/ lack of communication. • Poor relationship between doctors and nurses.
• Holding too much stock. • Use outdated market data for research. • Good reputation for innovation. Weaknesses • Poor internal communication. • Holding too much stock. • Poor relationship with clients. • • Use of outdated market data for research. • New advertisement plans from competitors. • Downturn in economy which implies that consumers are spending less. S-O strategies S1-T1- Emphasize that the hospital is value and patient oriented. S2-T2- Emphasize that the hospital values their clients through good record keeping. S3-T3- Maximize on the reputation of innovativeness and research compared to other competitors. Recognition Section Recklies (2003) argued that one of the ways internal stakeholders recognize the problem of low morale is by carrying out a performance evaluation of employees on a regularly. Internal stakeholders such and doctors, nurses, patient service team, managers and external stakeholder such as patients, and suppliers recognize the problem of low morale in a workplace in various ways.
Senior managers at Mater District Hospital identify issues of low morale via high rates of absenteeism at work, tardiness by doctors and nurses, and wastage and spoilage by the service patient officers. This is supported by Recklies (2003) who argue that conducting a periodic performance appraisal of how employees are doing their jobs in relation to established norms would assist stakeholders to recognize issues of low morale in good time. Such norms cover factors such as high rate of absenteeism at work where an employee frequently calls in sick at work, day off for personal issues, request for extended breaks, tardiness, high labour turnover, strikes, sabotage, wastage, and spoilage. These principles are applied to an organization to ensure that an organization adheres to the ethical obligations that the organization has towards the employees, suppliers, neighbors, and customers.
In the case of Mater District Hospital, moral principles from the management failed to work and protect the nurses from exploitation. For instance, it is the responsibility of the unit managers to ensure that any form of mistreatment and harassment from the doctors to the nurses is not tolerated at the facility because this may send a bad image about the facility to the public. However, the unit managers laid their blame on the doctors alone. Since the hospital requested me to help them design strategies for handling such challenges, it was essential to demonstrate to the organization how ethics should come into interplay without blaming anybody for the challenges facing the hospital. Herring et al. (2009) defines ideation as the process of generating new ideas and concepts to solve particular problems affecting an organization.
The generation of concepts and ideas in a group setting may be done through brainstorming, classic brainstorming, or Round-Robin brainstorming. Additionally, Herring et al. (2009) defines brainstorming as a random ideation process. From the underlying problem of low morale at the Mater District Hospital, the following stakeholder ma was developed. Stakeholder Contribution Legitimacy Willingness to Engage Influence Necessity of Involvement CEO High: knowledge about the problem of low morale at the workplace High: Directly affected through the loss of profits. High High High: an outspoken stakeholder Managers High High High High High Doctors High High High High High Nurses High High High High High Patients Medium Medium Low Medium Medium Suppliers Medium Low High High Medium Service operators High High High Low Medium Importance of engaging manager and leaders Bryson (2004) acknowledges that leaders play a critical role in influencing the decision-making in an organization.
Stakeholder involvement in finding a solution to a problem is an important phase in an organization. For Mater District Hospital, the leaders lead a far wide of stakeholders, including, service operators, suppliers, nurses, and doctors. • A pair of soluble pens to allow the participants to write and wipe when needed to do so such that the kit can be used again. • A container of clue cards to help the participants think through and consider the twenty organizational development and system thinking perspective as they think through. Prejudice is one of the constraints that would affect the consensus of the stakeholders in arriving at a desired solution. This is supported by Esses and Dietz (2007) who argues that in an organization where some members consider themselves to be more important than others affects the organization’s performance in several ways.
To overcome this challenge, I ensured that each group comprised of different groups of stakeholders as they brainstormed together. • Also, through brainstorming, we identified the elements that would convert the organization of tomorrow to the organization of today. To achieve this, we used the charts of the ideal organization. After this, we compared the ideal organization and the current structure of the current organization to identify the elements which would make the current organization work the same way the ideal hospital work. • Through my guidance, the group recommended various projects to help the hospital to work towards the desired future. Communication and Action Plan A communication and Action plan supports the implementation of solutions to the underlying problem through a timely and interactive internal and external communication thus creating an understanding and committed persons to the organization.
All clients As need may arise September 2019 All customers. Provide information on organizational performance. Share among the staff and their performance and what needs to be improved. Annual workshops All stakeholders Annually N/A All stakeholders. Feedback mechanism Measure, assess, and monitor, acceptance levels. (2013) who argue that the complexities in such problems are in principle non-reducible or they cannot be fully described. This condition implies that the traditional quantifiable methods of evaluating a problem to find a solution to the problem is rendered useless. Then, an alternative method to the mathematical models is a non-quantifiable method of modelling which relies on internal consistency and judgmental processes. Fritz Zwicky (2012) developed a general morphological analysis technique for structuring and investigating a total set of relationships in a multi-dimensional, non-measurable complex problem scenario.
In using the morphological solution generating technique, problem solvers need to identify the problem dimensions, generate attributes/ parameters associated with each dimension, and take the combination of the attributes as a stimuli for new ideas or solutions. We brainstormed by first defining the problem characteristics to identify the most suitable. b. We made all suggestions visible to everyone and grouped them until we all reached at a consensus concerning the potential solutions. c. We ensured that we had a small manageable group of eight members each to allow faster discussion. Have a day when the managers come together to interact and discuss their progress with the managers, ii. Teach and remind the nurses and doctors about their duties and responsibilities. iii.
Find a way of providing care for the families who come out of the town rather than leaving the burden on the nurses. Attribute listing Davis (2004) defines attribute listing as an analytical approach for recognizing new forms of solutions, products or systems by recognizing the areas that need improvement or modification. Checklists Checklists are idea generating techniques which help to generate ideas systematically. As Davis (2004) says, once a problem is identified, teams may use the checklists to identify the issues that are related with the problem. Mainly, checklists help teams to formulate questions that are meant to solve problems in a particular context. The following questions were formulated and helped the team to identify the solution to the problem of low morale at Mater District Hospital.
Solving the problem of low morale at the Mater District Hospital using checklists Why? To help the staff work together as a team and communicate with one another. By using these elements, we drew up tables using the identified attributes/ parameters as column subheadings. We also wrote down as many variations as possible and this was made possible through group brainstorming. Afterward, we randomly selected some interesting combinations of the solutions that the members had suggested to create the possible solutions which would solve the problem of low morale at the hospital. However, in using these techniques to generate the possible solutions to the problem of low morale, attribute listing was used to focus on the attributes of parameters of the problem to see how each of them would be improved to solve the problem of low morale.
Conversely, the morphological analysis was used with a similar approach but provided the members with an opportunity to brainstorm and suggest any new approaches for solving the problem of low morale. From these symptoms, through brainstorming with the rest of the stakeholders, we realized that the problem was internal and it was caused by low morale at the hospital. Organizations face several challenges in their everyday functioning which affect their productivity. Then, this implies that a learning organization requires trained and empowered workers with the ability to recognize and solve problems before they get out of control. The Evaluation Section Bourne and Walker (2005) define evaluation as the assessment of the possible recommendations or solutions for implementation. This is supported by Dyer et al.
• Find a way of providing care for the families who come out of the town rather than leaving the burden on the nurses. The steps followed: Step 1 First, I gave an overview of the change puzzle kit. The attention span of listening groups is always less than an hour and thus, briefing the group about the change toolkit was necessary to ensure that they concentrated throughout the workshop session. Step 2 To arrive at the potential solutions, I started by allowing the participants to brainstorm about which each person may play roles if an organization or project was to succeed? Which characters may have changed over the recent years? How would people know and be aware of the tasks they are required to perform? Instructions The groups were given the organization of today charts and cards plus clue cards.
They were also provided with the soluble pens to write on the charts about they thought may bring about change in the organization. As the groups applied their right brain to create a future they wished for, they were re-energized, became more creative, happy and talking to one another. They gave out brilliant ideas and strategies on how they will be caring for the patients, improve their services to the doctors, and communicate with one another. Step 4 I allowed the members to complete the charts for the preferred ideal future organization. Activity By applying different group building techniques such as the stepladder technique, I chose one member from each group at a time and asked them to answer some random questions about the problem under discussion.
Additionally, I mixed the groups and encouraged them to work as a group which allowed them to choose the core changes they wanted to see in their ideal organization of the future. The management will identify the causes of low morale at the hospital thus find early interventions before things get out of control in the future. By interacting with the employees, it will promote cohesion which will improve employees’ morale. It may be a tedious exercise for the managers because they have to monitor their work as well as monitor how the staff work. Find a way of providing care for the families who come out of the town rather than leaving the burden to the nurses. Advantages Disadvantages It will reduce the burden of care on the nurses thus improving their morale to work.
How would that happen with the limited amount of time provided? By applying my critical thinking skills, the group applied several solution generating skills such as checklists, morphological analysis, and attribute listing to generate solutions to the underlying problem. Low morale is one of the leading trends in most organizations and this problem affects almost every department of an organization (Preble 2005). Thus, to understand or find a solution to such a complicated issue, it is essential to understand both the internal and external elements through the use of models which explain the internal and external environments. In the case of the Mater District Hospital’s external and internal environments were analyzed by using the PESTEL analysis, SWOT analysis, and the TOWS matrix.
These models helped the team to understand the factors which surrounded the hospital’s environment and the problem of low morale and how the organization may respond to the roots of low morale. From my point of view, the issues that face organizations in different contexts in the 21st century needs to go back to the roots of complex problem-solving research in which the solutions to such problems are sorted by engaging and allowing the affected parties to apply critical thinking, synectics, role-playing, and brainstorming among other solution-generating techniques to solve the complex issues. This reflective essay aimed to demonstrate the application of various models and tools for understanding and analyzing complex problems in the day-to-day running of organizations. Through serious critical thinking and Round-Robin brainstorming, classic brainstorming, and traditional brainstorming, the team provided amazing solutions on how to respond to the problem Aside from that, the hospital was also losing competitive personnel to other hospitals which implies that the profitability of the organization was declining.
To solve this problem, the researcher has used various models such as the PESTEL analysis, SWOT analysis, and the TOWS matrix to understand the external and internal environment of the hospital. Along with this, the researcher applied the change puzzle kit as well as the powerful facilitation cards tools to engage a selected 32-member for a one-day workshop to find solutions to the complex problem of the low nurses’ morale at the hospital. Visualising and mapping stakeholder influence. Management decision, 43(5). Bressen, T. Consensus decision making. The change handbook: The definitive resource on today’s best methods for engaging whole systems. A. and Bradley, E. H. Policy solutions to address the foreign-educated and foreign-born health care workforce in the United States. Health Affairs, 32(11).
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