When being the boss isn’t enough
1. What types of power and what influence tactics are Ms Chan and Dr Gosling using? Ms Chan uses the legitimate power. Ms Chan utilises her position as the CEO of Central Health Aged Care Service to give authority to her staff. Both Ms Chan and Dr Gosling use the expert power. Ms Chan relies on her 20+ years’ experience and knowledge on finance and human resources management to make decisions and considerations. On the other hand, Dr Gosling uses his many years’ experience working at CHAC and as a well-known doctor, to influence the staff to agree and support his belief when he believed that he and the other medical staff were capable of treating the patient. Dr Gosling also uses referent power. His personality and as a respected doctor, many of his staff compiles his request instead of obeying Ms Chan’s.
When Dr Gosling wanted to terminate one of the senior nurses for being disobedient and has no ability in doing her job well, therefore he used the “assertiveness” influence tactic on Ms Chan. He was essentially threatening Ms Chan when he said “that nurse will kill someone one day and you will be responsible”. Dr Gosling was being forceful and self-assured manner to satisfy his need. Besides that, Dr Gosling also used coalition formation influence when he pooled resources of many people so the strength of influencing Ms Chan on not transferring the very ill patient to another facility is much stronger than operating alone. Lastly, Ms Chan used the silent authority influence tactic as she utilises the legitimate power and followed requests from Dr Gosling without obvious influence.
2. Dr Clark has arranged separate meetings with both Ms Chan and Dr Gosling to discuss the situation. What advice should he give both of them? The advice to each of them may be different. Dr Clark should start by explaining that he has realised the discontent between Ms Chan and Dr Gosling. After that, explain that he would like to understand the cause of the conflict. Dr Gosling – Dr Clark should recognise the success of Dr Gosling and by showing him his value to the organisation. He could also explain that Ms Chan was being responsible and did not dismiss the senior nurse for the sake of the organisation. Ms Chan – Dr Clark could inform Ms Chan about Dr Gosling’s resignation and the reason behind it. He should ask Ms Chan to be more respectful to her staff and not to challenge their judgement. Even if she does not agree to the decision, she should give suggestions in a positive manner. Dr Gosling should advise both of them to think of the reason why each of them thinks like that – to be in each other’s shoes so to understand their actions.
3. If, after talking with the two staff involved, things do not improve, what should Dr Clark do? Dr Clark should accept Dr Gosling’s resignation and let him go. This is because Ms Chan was doing everything for the benefit of the organisation’s future and she was considering the long term effect of the organisation.