Neighborhood Health Clinic (C), Resolving Conflict in a Dysfunctional Workplace

By Brian Lowery, Lyn Denend
2005 | Case No. OB51C

Barbara Ladao was the chief executive officer of the Neighborhood Health Clinic (NHC), a nonprofit health center located in an ethnically diverse, underserved, and complicated community. At the time of the case, the interpersonal dynamics within the clinic had started to interfere with the ability of Ladao’s staff to work effectively and efficiently together. Worse yet, she was concerned that the dysfunctional behavior (which had created a racial divide among employees) was starting to affect the clinic’s patients, and ultimately could impact NHC’s ability to continue expanding, raising funds, and meeting the needs of the community on a long-term basis. The “A” case explores the history, demographics, and tensions in external environment and the impact they have on clinic operations (e.g., hiring, staff management, interpersonal relations). The “B” case evaluates specific challenges within the clinic related to language, work ethic, and discipline. The “C” case describes what course of action Ladao and her team took, the strengths of their approach, and the challenges/opportunities that still required attention at NHC. Note: While these case documents describe the actual events that occurred at a specific family health clinic in an underserved community, the name and location of the clinic have both been disguised for the purposes of confidentiality. Similarly, the names of the individuals described in the case are fictitious. At times, actions and statements made by multiple people (with similar backgrounds, perspectives, and/or positions) have been aggregated and attributed to a single individual to simplify the total number of characters introduced within the case.

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