The Change and Conflict Theory in Nursing

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Change remains something inevitable in today’s world. With the quest of embracing change in any career or even business, some conflicts do arise. In most cases, conflicts can lead to low production rates and a reduction of work motivation among the employees. Sometimes clashes in any given organization tend to tarnish the reputation of the organization. It remains crucial that the leaders learn to manage conflict in the most effective and efficient ways possible. The leaders should become the tools of embracing change so that the rest employees comply.

Change theory

Nurses must fully comprehend all the change theories, so they become productive in the hospital environment. By assessing the changes, nurses remain objective and vigilant in their day-to-day responsibilities. The change theories include environmental change theory, chaos theory, life cycle, teleological theory and dialectical theory (Bandura, 2011).

The environmental change theory revolves around the environment and circumstances within which change depends upon in any given organization. Environmental factors keep evolving, and this creates massive change. The idea aims at taking good care of the environment of the patient so as to achieve the desired effect (Marcia, 2011). In this theory, there exists the assumption that nursing remains a calling and is always achieved through some environmental alterations. The theory focuses mainly on making changes to the environment of the patient with a view of achieving their health. Consequently, this remains the most important facet of nursing (Marcia, 2011).

The chaos theory states that even though systems try to obtain equilibrium, their complexity inhibits the attainment of equilibrium. Equilibrium, in this case, remains something dynamic meaning it keeps on changing (Hofsede, 2014). Chaos comes as a result of the systems failing to recognize or follow a particular pattern. In nursing, there exists no 100% chance that the outcome of a particular procedure will get known. As a result, unforeseen issues can change results in a massive way.

In the life cycle theory, the significant focus remains on individuals and how they evolve individually. The theory implies that change comes as a result of people adapting and not as a result of people wanting it to occur (Hofsede, 2014). When nurses understand this theory, they remain motivated and efficient. The teleological theory suggests that we ought to come up with maximum positive consequences as opposed to negative consequences (Marcia, 2011). Therefore, nurses remain obliged to do what’s best that will result in the best for the patient.

Finally, the dialectical theory suggests that each value in any given organization possesses its opposite inference. Changing exhibits two different forces that oppose and this results in radical change (Hofsede, 2014). In this case, collective action remains more useful as opposed to upright leadership.

Conflict theory

In the healthcare environment, change arises that give rise to different conflicts. The need to address the conflicts gives rise to the creation of a healthy working environment and a reputable organization (Canterruci, 2013). Some of the types of conflict theories include the organizational conflict theory, social, cognitive theory, social conflict theory, and social exchange theory (Canterruci, 2013). In the organizational conflict theory, there exists a conflict in the association, and they consist of departmental conflicts and interpersonal conflicts among many others. If the conflict keeps on persisting and becomes part of the organization’s culture, there remains a likelihood that the organization will get destroyed (Canterruci, 2013). Clashes in the organization may get solved by the management making proper decisions or even getting involved in mediation. The social conflict theory suggests that wealthy individuals tend to utilize their power and resources to exploit poor people.

In nursing, the top nurses tend to overwork the lower rank nurses, and they get paid lower wages. As a result, conflicts arise due to the exploitation. In the social cognitive theory, individuals tend to replicate others’ behavior as they remain unwilling to try new behaviors (Bandura, 2011). The nurses’ knowledge of certain practices of a given community produces a considerable influence on the patient’s quality of care. The social exchange theory depicts human interactions as being based on punishments and rewards. In most cases, the level of how right and action seems determined what’s right. The above theory poses an enormous effect on the relationship between a nurse and a patient (Canterruci, 2013).

The leader as an agent of change

In any given organization, a leader remains the head. One remains tasked with the process of coming up with various objectives and goals, plans and execution of planned activities (Canterruci, 2013). In nursing, the leader remains the agent of change as he or she brings about change and also translates the changes in the required plans. A leader should always remain active as an agent of change so as to enable the subordinates to embrace change with significant motivation in the workplace. The front-runner in most cases remains tasked with encouraging and giving the others the morale to realize the objectives and goals of the healthcare organization (Canterruci, 2013). Without motivation, there remains a significant likelihood of conflicts arising. A good example remains that some leaders in the nursing profession tend to carry out questionnaires for their employees to ask about their opinion certain changes implemented. The nurses get motivated as they feel that their opinion gets considered, and it still counts (Canterruci, 2013).

Leaders in the nursing profession should always aim at devising changes that impact the organization in a positive way. As agents of change, nursing leaders should always exercise great communication with others. The attainment of excellent communication levels in the organization tends to enable them to attain their desired goals, increase production and also remain useful in the long run. Leaders should always be tasked with planning, researching, supporting the expected change and modeling certain behaviors so as to effect change (Marcia, 2011).


In conclusion, my ability to handle conflict has increased effective leadership in the health care environment in certain ways. To begin with, the ability to accept the inevitability of change and the creation of a receptive environment gives clear direction (Marcia, 2011). Therefore, conflicts get avoided as a result of accepting change. A good example in the health environment refers to situations when hospital rules change, and the nurses have to comply with the new regulations despite everything (Canterruci, 2013). The head of the hospital remains tasked with ensuring the new regulations remain reasonable (Canterruci, 2013). Conflicts may remain handled by the leaders through the initiation and the definition of change. Leaders need to identify all the influential and valid points so as to stay relevant in the health care environment. A good example in the health sector remains when the leaders carry out supervisory roles so as to monitor everything in the hospital. The ability to handle the dynamics of the culture of the diverse individuals enables the health care environment to remain more peaceful and productive in both the short and the long run (Hofsede, 2014). A great example in the health centers remains when the leaders go out to seminars to learn more about the people’s culture and their employees. The leaders also learn to accept some practices and treat their employees fairly (Bandura, 2011). Finally, by the support and the championship of the final stages of change, leaders can manage conflicts and remain relevant and operational in a better way.


Bandura, E. (2011). Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. New Jersey, United States: Prentice Hall.

Canterruci, M. (2013). Leadership in a diverse society: Are you a change leader?. College Station, Texas: A & M University Press.

Hofsede, H. (2014). Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions and organizations across nations. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.

Marcia, J. (2011). Public health nursing: Population-centered health care in the community. Hoboken, New Jersey: Pearson.

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