Organizational Culture and Values in Healthcare

Prior to operating, any organization should dwell on the path it is willing to pursue in order to perceive itself as successful and beneficial for the community. The healthcare segment, as a highly customer-oriented business, is to ensure that the values of a healthcare organization are aimed at providing the best care possible while encouraging both the staff and the community in health-promoting behavior. For this reason, healthcare organizations define the patterns of their organizational culture, which stands for the combinations of assumptions and roadmaps of how nay organization should work in order to secure maximum efficiency for the user or the patient (Elsbach & Stigliani, 2018). Hence, the primary purpose of this paper is to look into the constituents of a healthcare organization’s values and culture as well as the extent to which these phenomena contribute to the overall pattern of health care practice, patient outcomes, and community health.

The creation of the organization’s core mission, vision, and values is the primary step for any leader. Without these constituents of an organization, leaders fail to convey the organization’s value and significance to the potential stakeholders. Thus, the purpose of the mission statement is to outline the principle upon which an organization is willing to operate and serve its clients at a specific point in time (Grand Canyon University, 2018). An organization’s vision, for its part, stands for its perception of the future and forthcoming accomplishments. Hence, while an organization’s vision is vaguer, the mission statement of an organization helps embody this vision into a more tangible roadmap. Finally, the notion of an organization’s values stands for the ethical norms and rules embraced within an organization in order to align with the mission in an ethical and efficient way. Thus, it becomes evident that the organization’s vision, mission, and statement are a lighthouse for an organization and its long-term objectives.

Implications for nursing

While an organization’s mission, vision, and culture may seem like abstract phenomena that have little to do with actual health care, their absence within an organization, in fact, discourages both professional and patient outcomes. Scholarly evidence indicates that the healthcare organization with poor patient outcomes and increased conflict levels have similar characteristics in common, one of which is the absence of a definite organizational culture and mission (Vaughn et al., 2019). Indeed, when nurses and physicians are unaware of the organization’s core mission, they have no choice but to define their personal missions and visions within the organization, catalyzing interpersonal conflicts and poorer patient outcomes. Moreover, when not guided by a cohesive vision and mission, nurses and other professionals have no inner motivation for continuous development. As a result, instead of striving for excellence, nurses promote mediocrity and tend to repeat the same mistakes.

What are the potential causes of a conflict?

  • dissatisfaction with one’s leadeship styles.
  • burnout, fatigue, poor mental health.
  • lack of cohesive mission and vision.
  • poor interprofessional communication.
  • different views on treatment.

The notion of conflict in a healthcare setting has always been a significant issue due to the fact that medical professionals find themselves in a highly stressful environment that requires constant communication and a sense of responsibility for the lives of others. For this reason, the conflicts that emerge in the workplace are catalyzed by both professional disputes such as the perception of treatment and psychological ones, including personal preferences, burnout, or the misperception of the leadership models (Freedman, 2018). Hence, the absence of cohesive vision, mission, and ethical standards of professional conduct contribute to the acceleration of conflict emergence and limited opportunities to address them promptly.

Organizational culture and conflict

Organizational culture should issues and conflcits be perceived as an obstacle or an opportunity? Adoption of a conflict management strategy (e.g., avoidance, collaboration. etc.).

While conflict itself is frequently perceived as an inherently negative phenomenon in a working environment, its inevitability has eventually led to many people recognizing beneficial aspects of a dispute. However, the extent to which a conflict may be perceived as positive depends directly on how an organization recognizes and addresses conflicts in the workplace. Thus, according to Vale et al. (2020), efficient management of disputes catalyzes organizational and professional growth. Hence, once an organization includes conflict management, collaboration, and commitment as essential parts of its mission and vision, the conflict is no longer recognized as something that should be avoided at all costs but something that should be addressed promptly and used as a platform for learning and development.

Conflict management strategy: Collaborating

There are five commonly recognized conflict management strategies adopted by leaders either on a regular basis or depending on the context. Arguably the most efficient conflict resolution approach is the process of collaboration, as it stands for the process of direct interaction within the team while seeking the most beneficial outcome. While it is highly valued, an organization requires a strong model of culture and ethics in order to be able to conduct and meaningful and active discussion that does not facilitate future conflicts. When having a sustainable, ethical framework and a clear understanding of the goals pursued in the first place, an organization is more likely to engage in dialogue for securing maximum benefit for the whole team.

Conflict management strategy: Competing

The notion of competing, on the other hand, focuses on the conflict stakeholders pursuing others to accommodate and sacrifice their goals for the sake of meeting the requirements of one of the sides. Such a strategy is regarded as one of the least frequent and efficient in the healthcare segment, as it contradicts the very idea of having a common set of goals and values that drive the company. Essentially, it would be reasonable to assume that the individualist culture represented in the competing conflict resolution strategy is highly unproductive in an environment where the goal of team members is always about serving their patients.

Conflict management strategy: Avoiding/Accommodating

The next conflict resolution strategy, avoiding, is a passive strategy that presupposes no interference whatsoever, as the leader is willing to stay away or let the conflict subside on its own. While such an approach may be reasonable in dealing with minor interpersonal disputes in the workplace, ignoring more serious issues becomes a severe disruption of the workflow and one’s leadership. Accommodating a conflict, for its part, revolves around sacrifice for the sake of maintaining healthy workflow dynamics. Nurse leaders frequently employ this strategy in the workplace when exercising servant leadership, as they place the interests of staff members significantly higher than their personal, and such an altruistic perception of leadership makes their followers respect and listen to the leader. However, it is imperative to distinguish between servant leadership and the inability to stand one’s ground.

Conflict management strategy: Compromising

Finally, the notion of compromise is also quite frequent in the nursing paradigm. The primary premise of this strategy is the stakeholders’ desire to find common ground and meet halfway when making a decision. Such a strategy is considered beneficial when collaboration is impossible due to time-efficiency or lack of organizational culture.

Organizational factors to influence health care and patients

  • Clear Mandates, Vision, and Goals.
  • Strategic Coordination and Communication Mechanisms between Partners.
  • Formal Organizational Leaders as Collaborative Champions.
  • Collaborative Approaches to Programs and Services Delivery.
  • Collaborative Organizational Culture.
  • Optimal Use of Resources.

The patterns of public health and primary care rely heavily on the behavioral and managerial framework within an organization, as quality resource allocation is key when securing health care. For this reason, the paradigm of organizational culture, especially such concepts as “clear vision and mission, strategic coordination and collaboration patterns among professionals, formal organizational leaders as collaborative champions, collaborative organizational culture, optimal use of resources, and collaborative approaches to service delivery” plays a critical role in securing patient outcomes (Valaitis et al., 2018, p.1). Indeed, the explicit correlation between the staff’s organization and interprofessional relations creates an urge to reconsider the significance of organizational culture in the healthcare sphere.


Elsbach, K. D., & Stigliani, I. (2018). Design thinking and organizational culture: A review and framework for future research. Journal of Management, 44(6), 2274-2306.

Freedman, B. D. (2019). Risk factors and causes of interpersonal conflict in nursing workplaces: Understandings from neuroscience. Collegian, 26(5), 594-604.

Grand Canyon University. (2018). Nursing leadership & management: Leading and serving [E-book]. Web.

Labrague, L. J., Al Hamdan, Z., & McEnroe‐Petitte, D. M. (2018). An integrative review on conflict management styles among nursing professionals: implications for nursing management. Journal of Nursing Management, 26(8), 902-917.

Valaitis, R., Meagher-Stewart, D., Martin-Misener, R., Wong, S. T., MacDonald, M., & O’Mara, L. (2018). Organizational factors influencing successful primary care and public health collaboration. BMC Health Services Research, 18(1), 1-17.

Vale, F., Mónico, L., Carvalho, C., Jesuíno, J., & Parreira, P. (2020). The Impact of Organizational Culture on Conflict Management Styles El impacto de la cultura organizacional en los estilos de manejo de conflictos. Innovation, 9(1), 57-81. Web.

Vaughn, V. M., Saint, S., Krein, S. L., Forman, J. H., Meddings, J., Ameling, J., Winter, S., Townsend, W., & Chopra, V. (2019). Characteristics of healthcare organisations struggling to improve quality: Results from a systematic review of qualitative studies. BMJ Quality & Safety, 28(1), 74-84.

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