Department of Conflict Resolution Studies Theses and Dissertations

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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Conflict Resolution Studies

First Advisor

Robin Cooper

Second Advisor

Dustin Berna

Third Advisor

Judith McKay


conflict resolution, health information technology, healthcare management, medical personnel, organizational theory, public health


The United States healthcare setting is a complex environment fraught with conflict, systemic issues and one of the country’s largest economic burdens. Healthcare Professional's (HCP's) are challenged with assimilating new information caring for patients, often in times of life or death, leaving little room for error. This study explored how physicians experience conflict in the workplace by employing an interpretative phenomenological approach, and through semi-structured, in-depth interviews on the lived experiences of 6 physicians. Power theory, systems theory, and organizational conflict theory were utilized as research revealed design of the healthcare system, lack of communication amongst HCP’s and power of large stakeholders contributes to conflict. Limited data exists on how physicians experience and process conflict and how it impacts workplace and health outcomes. Findings suggest an overhaul of the healthcare system is warranted to standardize healthcare delivery with more emphasis on utilization of health information technology (HIT), collaboration amongst HCP's, educating patient populations to be more participative in their own care, and that a healthcare role known as a nurse or patient care advocate, may be beneficial in improving health outcomes and reducing costs and risk. These findings contribute to the field of conflict analysis by broadening the lens on problems in healthcare because it analyzes conflict from the physician’s perspective. Data may assist in advancing public health policy and approaches to overhauling the healthcare system, adoption of a national HIT infrastructure and lobbying for a universal system of healthcare in the United States, in light of the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic.

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