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:

Reasons That Cause Power Struggles in Healthcare Facilities

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).

Alleviation of power imbalances

The healthcare facilities workforce depicts a model of leader power and level of influence suggested in a complex social environment of struggle, confrontation, hostility, battle and manipulation. Towards attempts to alleviate the power imbalances within the healthcare organizations calls for the achievement of the organization’s effectiveness and brilliance through leader excellence. The argument by John et al., (2009), depicts that leadership excellence becomes the effectiveness in acquisition and exercise of power by the leader to result into positive power dynamics which impact on the organization’s performance over the long-run. This poses challenge on the leaders to constantly exercise power to yield organization excellence. This entails technical competence which demands varied context on management of social reality, necessitating power skills which has the ability to mobilize diverse individuals who are linked through interdependence and a common need to enable pulling together to achieve crucial purposes despite the various countervailing forces operating against such synergy.

Importance of preventing power abuse

The objective of the healthcare system is effective service delivery and ensuring efficiency within the parameters of operations with respect to cost-benefit analysis (Gary, 2011). The regulation power limits among individuals would result into less supremacy struggles within the healthcare facility to ensure the objectives of the organization are attained as set.

Negotiation approaches to eradicate power abuse

Stipulation of authority limits

The organization should ensure that the specific details entailing an individual’s limits of control and authority are explicitly stipulated to ensure that there isn’t conflict of interest among its workforce. When the leaders are strictly given authority to some limits, they become subject of watch to what extent and to which magnitude they proclaim their powers (Cohen, 2003, p.311).

Specifying a common unit of authority

Distinguishing the level at which an individual is answerable to creates a framework in which one would only take directives and commands from a central and common unit to avoid unnecessary imposition of any other leader who is out to exercise limitless control.

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