Assignment 2: Negotiation change
Word Limit: 2,400 Weighting: 45% (45 marks)
It was reported in a management journal that a unit overseas decided to try to change the current shift pattern (which was the same one used in your unit) because they had concluded it was not really efficient from a cost and productivity perspective. This unit was in a private hospital and most of the work force did not belong to a Trade Union (the Union). The management of the unit who first introduced this rostering method wrote a glowing article about how efficient it was. Little was heard from the staff on the unit.
You are the manager of your unit (ward/department etc.). Senior managers in your hospital have decided to adopt the same shift pattern which had been trialled overseas and which avoided any overlap in staff. When you first discuss the change with your staff you find that some staff view this as a positive change but others are more uncertain and a few don’t want to change at all. You inform your senior manager about this reaction and they agree to allow you to trial the change of shift times for a period of three months and then evaluate it.
At the end of the three month trial period, senior hospital management identified that there had been cost savings resulting from the new shift pattern and declared that it enabled a more efficient use of staff. They informed you that the hospital had decided that the change in shift hours would be permanent and that you should work with your staff to ensure a smooth transition towards adopting them permanently.
You explain to your staff the findings of the senior hospital management in terms of the cost benefit of the new shift hours. However, the results of the trial in your unit identified that although some staff remain positive about the change in shift pattern (because it suits their life style); more now expressed negative views about the change. You know that some staff are members of the relevant Union. The Union had not been consulted about the trial prior to it being implemented. Staff who perceive the new shift pattern as negative now begin to talk about consulting the Union about these changes. You are concerned about the divisions in the staff that these changes in shift times seem to be causing.
There is grumbling and anxiety amongst the unit’s staff but no outright conflict about the new shift hours. You are worried that this is also affecting staff morale. Senior management, nevertheless, is determined to introduce the new shift pattern as a permanent feature of the work place. Somehow, you have to try to negotiate the introduction of the new shift pattern in a way that results in satisfaction of or at least acceptance by your unit’s staff. In this assignment you are required to identify a plan of how you will achieve this. (NB you are not required to outline new shift time start and finishing times etc.).
Although you will keep your Senior Manager informed of the negotiation process, in the first instance your negotiations will be between representatives of your unit’s staff who support the change to the new rostering hours, representatives of your unit’s staff who do not support the change and you as the unit’s manager. Each of these representatives will be required to report back to their colleagues. Using, where appropriate, some of the literature that you critiqued in the previous assignment and ensuring that you also refer to new literature relevant to this second assignment, respond to the following questions using an essay format for this assignment (you may wish to discuss more than one point in each paragraph):
- Provide an introduction to the assignment.
- Identify your overall aims and specific objectives for your negotiations during the change implementation process.
- Critically reflect on and identify what concerns, interests and goals in the negotiation each of the three parties i.e. (1) staff who view the change positively; (2) staff who view the change negatively, and (3) you as the manager of the unit might hold.
- Identify the potential constraints in the negotiation on each participating group in terms of information, time and power.
- Identify the strategies (and your rationale for each of these) that you plan to use to undertake and keep the negotiation process going. Explain how each of these strategies will help you meet your overall aims and specific objectives for this transition process.
- Briefly discuss the attitudes you think representatives of the staff who support the change and those who are against it might bring to the negotiations and why you think this. Include discussion about what attitudes you will bring to these negotiations.
- Critically reflect on and discuss how you might respond to the attitudes of the representatives for and those against the change, as well as manage your own attitudes.
- Identify your ‘bottom line’ in the negotiations.
- Outline how you will assess progress in this change process and how you will evaluate your plan.
- Discuss how you will communicate progress in the negotiations to the unit’s nursing staff and your Senior Manager.
- Critically reflect on and discuss how you will monitor and maintain staff morale during the change implementation process.
- In a conclusion to the assignment summarize its key point and identify what you will do if the negotiations at unit level fail. If however, you consider you will achieve resolution of the issues through these negotiations critically reflect on and discuss how you will manage your staff who continue to oppose the change in shift hours even after they have been introduced permanently.