Developing a Model of Source-Specific Interpersonal Conflict in Healthcare

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Nurses work in complex social environments, and conflict may arise with fellow coworkers, their supervisor, physicians or the patients and family they care for. Although much research has documented the negative effects of conflict on nurses, no research to date has examined the comparative effect that conflict from all four sources can have on nurses. The purpose of this study is to test a model of workplace conflict where the negative effect of conflict on nurses will be experienced via emotional exhaustion. We test the mediator model by analysing the cross-sectional data collected within one hospital (N1 = 182) and cross-validating those results in a second hospital (N2  = 161). The pattern of results was largely consistent across the two samples indicating support for a mediated model of workplace conflict for physician, supervisor and patient. Conflict with other nurses, however, did not have a relationship with either emotional exhaustion or other personal and organizational outcomes. The theoretical and practical implications of the current findings, as well as the limitations and future research directions, are discussed.

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Stress & Health