Assessing the dynamics of conflict among nurses in public hospitals
Nursing in South Africa has become a difficult and stressful profession. Nurses are faced with many challenges on a daily basis, including; heavy workloads, shortages of staff, lack of resources and reduced managerial support (Von Holdt & Murphy, 2007). The demands of their job exceed the resources they have to cope with, which in turn, leads to conflict, which ultimately affects their well-being. The objective of this is research is to investigate the most and least employed conflict handling styles of nurses in public hospitals and to investigate the relationship between job demands, job resources and the different conflict handling styles, among nurses in public hospitals. A cross-sectional survey design was used. A convenience sample of nursing staff (N=205) was taken from three different public hospitals on the West Rand area in the Gauteng province. The following scales were used in this study: Rahim's Organisational Conflict Inventory (ROCI-II) and a self-developed job characteristics questionnaire. Descriptive statistics, Cronbach Alpha Coefficients and inferential statistics such as; MANOVAS, ANOVAS, product-moment correlations and standard regression analysis were used to analyse the data using the SPSS programme. The results indicated that nurses used the integrating style most frequently and used the dominating style least when dealing with a conflict situation. Furthermore, time demands, crisis management and colleague support predicted an avoiding style; while, workload, time demands, job security, feedback and colleague support predicted the use of an integrating style. The obliging conflict handling style was predicted by time demands and payment; workload, crisis management and payment predicted the use of a dominating style and finally, colleague support predicted the use of a compromising style. Further discussion and recommendations were made for future research and for the nursing profession in general. One of the recommendations is that a model can be constructed to help prevent or reduce conflict within public hospitals.