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Direct patient contact health care employees such as physicians, nurses, and technologists work in complex, stressful environments that are prone to conflict. Though some of this conflict may result in positive outcomes, much will have the opposite effect. Dysfunctional conflict has the potential to negatively affect the health care workplace on a variety of levels, including impacting the quality of patient care, employee job satisfaction, and employee wellbeing. Therefore, it would behoove hospital managers to learn to recognize the precursors to conflict in order to prevent any ill effects. The purpose of this literature review is to offer an overview of the antecedents and effects of conflict among health care workers. Both positive and negative effects of conflict are addressed. Also explored in this review are methods in which negative conflict can be adequately managed and resolved.





1.1 Background of the study

The roles of efficient health management in human health and development cannot be over emphasized.  Number of, R.E. (1982) has stressed the need to evolve good management practices care in health care delivery in Nigeria.  The organizational conflicts existing in almost in Nigeria hospitals and health centers has erupted huge ineffectiveness.  If the hospitals perform sub-optimally, our health, education and general welfare must be adversely affected.  In fact the nations growth generally are affected.  Findings was made to know that interpersonal/inter-group type conflict, also scarce resources and differences in individuals goals and organizational goals etc give rise to the organizational conflict in Nigeria teaching hospitals.  This organization conflicts will be elaborated more as we go down to other chapters.

Effective conflict management could lead to improved organizational performance, the Federal, State and Local Government are all committed, at least its principles, to the goal for achieving good health for all the citizens by the years 2008.

In Nigeria health sector, different categories of hospitals exist.  There are the referred hospitals, the general hospitals, the federal medical centers, special hospitals, teaching hospitals and other medical institutions like non-government or private hospitals. Currently there are teaching hospitals in almost every state of the federation.  The activities of these teaching hospitals can broadly be classified into three: training, services, and research.  In other to carry out these three activities, teaching hospitals work in close collaboration with the federal ministry of health, the hospital board and the teaching hospital.  Four main categories of staff are usually available and these are medical staff/doctors, the paramedical staff, the scientists and the support staff, that is those who are concerned with providing the basic facilities such as space, administrative support, engineering, and maintenance workers ensure continuous and effective delivery of hospital services.

In spite of the organizational structure, poor management has been identified as one of the major problems militating against efficient health services in Nigeria(Abuja Health Summit) (1995).  This is also the case in other countries of the world where hospitals administration are usually faced with management problems.  (Stoner and Wankol 1986).  Because of this conflict management is an important aspect of health policy management in Nigeria(UNTH Annual Bulletin, 1997).


One of the basic management problems in hospitals has been external or/and internal conflict.  Thus, the enduring challenge for hospitals management is how to carry out effective administration in this special environment so as to maximize efficiency and minimize waste.  The incidence of conflict in hospitals necessities a proper investigation into the organizational framework and function of the Nigerian hospital system.

Here, the teaching hospitals are points of focus.  The pertinent questions are:-

  1. Which are the common cause of conflict in UNTH?
  2. What type of conflicts are experienced in UNTH?
  3. Which type of conflict gives the highest functional or dysfunctional result?
  4. What is the impact of conflict on the efficiency of UNTH?
  5. What appropriate methods or means can be used to manage conflict in UNTH?


The purpose of study are as follows:-

(i) To examine the nature of organizational conflict in the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Enugu in order to determine their causes.

(ii) To examine the types of conflict that exists in University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Enugu with a view to determining its impact on efficiency of the hospital.

(iii) To identify how conflict is managed or handled in University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Enugu and the extent to which it’s dysfunctional effects are contained.

(iv)  To make recommendations based on the above findings.


The organizational conflict in Nigeria teaching hospitals is examined.  The scope of work covers the causes types effects and solution of conflicts within an organization.

Because of the time and financial constraints, the research could not cover the other areas of conflict like the trade union conflicts and conflict management models.


The study shall benefit the following:-

  1. The student research in finding real materials.
  2. Nigerian teaching hospitals especially the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Enugu in accessing the fooling of the people.
  3. Various Health Institutions in examining the types, nature causes of organizational conflicts with a view to determining its impact on efficiency.
  4. The management, heads of departments and it’s units union leaders and some level of senior staff in understanding the appropriate methods or measures than can be used to manage conflict.


(i)  Does your organization experience conflicts?

(ii) What is the nature of the conflict?

(iii) Who resolves conflict in your organization?

(iv) How do you evaluate the ways in which conflicts are resolved in organization?

(v)  What is/are the usual approach to conflict resolution in your organization?


The researcher formulated the following null hypothesis:-

(1)  Ho: UNTH Enugu do not encounter incident of conflict in their


Hi:     UNTH Enugu encounters incidents of conflict in their administrations.

(2)  Ho:    UNTH Enugu do not clash between individuals goals and

organizational goals.

Hi:     UNTH Enugu clashes between individuals goals and

organizational goals.

(3)  Ho:    UNTH Enugu do not witness limited amount or scarcity of


Hi:     UNTH Enugu witness limited amount or scarcity of resources.

(4) Ho: UNTH Enugu do not have differences in individual values and        perceptions.

Hi:     UNTH Enugu has differences in individual values and perceptions.

(5) Ho:    UNTH Enugu do not partake in negative effect of conflict

resolution method which exceeds its positive effect on the organizational performance.

Hi:     UNTH Enugu partake in negative effect of conflict resolution method which exceeds its positive effect on the organizational performance.

(6) Ho:    UNTH Enugu do not operate organizational ambiguity.

Ho:    UNTH Enugu operate organizational/role ambiguity.


This research study was militated by a lot of constraints that made the researcher to skip certain vital and relevant area.  These constraint are as follows:-

(i) INTERVIEW PROBLEM:-  Some of the higher executives officers and assistant executives officers of the UNTHEnugu Management Board whom the researcher was unable to interview to either “too busy” to be interview for just “not on seat”.

(ii) FINANCIAL AND TIME CONSTRAINT:-     Due to lack of finance and time which is not all at the researchers disposal, this research work was limited to only UNTH Enugu.

(iii) UNCOOPERATIVE ATTITUDE OF THE RESPONDENT:-Some of the respondents refused bluntly to be interviewed while others returned their questionnaire blank.  May be they thought their response would reprimourd then without being mindful of the earlier assurance that their responses would be treated with the strictest confidence.

(iv) UNAVAILABILITY OF COMPREHENSIVE LITERATURE:- Due to the scarcity of related literatures, it was not very easy for the researcher to lay hands on enough information that are relevant to this study.

(v) ILLITRACY:-     A good number of the UNTH Enugu (mostly artisans watch nights and duplicating machines operators) could not answer oral questions.  They expressed themselves of being ignorant of the management of the hospital.  Much explanation was involved for them to answer.  In the explanation, the researchers took care not to influence their response.


This research work is presented in five (5) chapters in accordance with the standard presentation of research work.

Chapter one contains the introduction which include; background of the study, statement of the problem, aim and objectives of study, research questions, significance of study, scope of study and overview of the study. Chapter two deals with review of related literature. Chapter three dwelt on research methodology which include; brief description of the study area, research design, sources of data, population of the study, sample size and sampling technique, instrument of data collection, validity of instrument, reliability of instrument and method of data presentation and analysis. Chapter four consists of data presentation and analysis while chapter five is the summary of findings, recommendations and conclusion.




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