Power Struggles in Healthcare Facilities


The mention of the word power ignites much of our mind. This could speak positive or negative of power. The healthcare facilities just like any other organization experience power struggles in terms of pursuit of leadership and positions’ elevation. The social milieu of very complex and large healthcare facilities is characterized as highly interdependent, highly diverse, and greatly rich in opportunities to result into generation of power struggles. The basis of these power struggles within the health systems range from a number of reasons:

High levels of diversity and interdependence

The healthcare facilities are environments of high levels of diversity in the differences in the organization’s members with respect to the values, goals, assumptions, perceptions and outcomes. The interdependence comes in that the multiple actors have power over each other as a result of job-related connections.According to Kotter (2001), these high degree of diversity and interdependence establish the stage for power struggles, power based development, and also the use of influence to create power dynamics. The existence of a greater degree of interdependence within the healthcare workplace, makes unilateral action to be rarely possible. Every decision of any importance within the system, a number of people will block, retard, or sabotage the action since they have power over the situation.

Authority imposition

In a set-up where people get together in groups, some level of power will be exerted. Individuals would want to carve out a nichein which they would exert influence, so that they can earn rewards and thus advance their career. The fact that not everyone in the healthcare system would have the opportunity of power and control, this makes conflict inevitable. The existence of human status hierarchies and also related status in pursuit of greater level of influence within the healthcare facility automatically results into power struggles among different individuals. In such situations where everybody wants to get ahead, the aspects of power struggles is no different in the context of healthcare systems (Rosabeth, 2011).

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