Strategies to Resolve Conflict

two hands reaching out in the sunset
Photo by Matteo Raw on Unsplash

Managing conflict and mediating between conflicting parties is an unavoidable aspect of the clinical nurse leader’s role.  Leaders in all organizations have the uniquely challenging task of bringing people together who have different personalities, perspectives, and skills and working with them to create a cohesive unit.  In this section, you will learn about the Thomas-Kilman conflict model,  a range of conflict management styles, and some principles of negotiation.  We will also explore strategies for dealing with different types of conflict that occur in the workplace.


Activity #1

Video: Strategies to Resolve Conflict (19:12)

Slides: Strategies to Resolve Conflict


Activity #2

Watch this video for clarification of the principles of negotiation.

Video: The Harvard Principles of Negotiation (8:46)


Activity #3

Watch this video as a review of the conflict model and its application to nursing scenarios.

Video: Module 4, Segment 2: Understanding Conflict Response Styles (11:40)


Activity #4

Read Johansen, M.L. (2012) Keeping the peace: Conflict management strategies for nurse managers. Specifically review the case study presented (and below), applying the 5 conflict management styles.


Ms. C, RN, receives reports on her patients from the charge nurse Ms. S and notices that her assignment is disproportionate to her peer Ms. J. Her assignment is heavy, including seven patients, two of whom are unstable. The acuity and number of patients exceed the ED guidelines. She isn’t comfortable that it’s safe; however, she isn’t surprised to learn that Ms. J’s assignment is light because Ms. J has the reputation of always getting her way. Her five patients are stable and being readied for discharge. Normally, Ms. C would accept her assignment to accommodate the needs of the unit, but she’s tired from working a double shift the day before. When she approaches the charge nurse Ms. S to modify her assignment, she is told that the assignment is what it is and that Ms. S wants to avoid any drama with Ms. J because, “You know how she is.” As Ms. C turns to leave, she sees the nurse manager Ms. P and decides to tell her about her unfair assignment.


How does nurse manager Ms. P react to this situation? How does she deal with the charge nurse and Ms. C’s perception that her assignment is unreasonable? How does she manage this conflict?


Activity #5

Read the following chapter.


Then, specifically, review the conflict management styles as they are applied to nursing.  Reflect on which conflict management style you habitually utilize.


Check Your Understanding


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Leadership for Nurses in Clinical Settings Copyright © 2022 by Dr. Kirsten Woodend, Dr. Catherine Thibeault, Dr. Manon Lemonde, Dr. Janet McCabe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book