Interprofessional Working – Part 2
3.0 Managing conflicts in inter-professional teams
Implementation of interprofessional working might require the collaborating parties to undertake radical changes in order to promote teamwork (Dickson & Glasby 2010). For example, in the quest to improve learning, MTSA, Canterbury Christ Church University, and the local schools might require the respective institutions to adjust their learning programs. Such adjustments might lead to conflict between the three learning institutions (Petch, Cook & Miller 2013). The parties charged with implementing collaboration between the three entities might experience a problem in establishing an interprofessional team. The conflict might arise from the existence of uncertainty amongst the respective interprofessional team members (Martin & Rogers 2004). The existence of conflicts or differences within the interprofessional team might negatively impact the efficiency with which the team undertakes the requisite team roles. For example, employees from the respective learning institutions might perceive the collaborative working approach as a threat to their organisational culture. This aspect might hinder the extent to which the respective employees work collaboratively within the interprofessional team. Hornby and Atkins (2000) assert that conflicts within interprofessional teams may also arise from leadership differences. For example, some team members may develop the perception that interprofessional working leads to a clash of organisational values (Forman, Jones & Thistlewaite 2015).
In order to work collaboratively, the three institutions should develop a strategic partnership agreement that clearly stipulates the roles and responsibilities of the respective team members. Additionally, the interprofessional team should formulate the intended targets collaboratively (Gucciardi et al. 2016). To achieve this goal, interprofessional team members should ensure that diversity in their areas of professionalism does not affect their relationship with other team members who might be considered to be at a relatively lower level with regard to professionalism (Forman, Jones & Thistlewaite 2015).To minimize the likelihood of conflicts within the interprofessional team, MTSA, Cantebury Christ University, and the local schools should ensure that the interprofessional team members understand that the diversity within the team is a source of strength that can aid in the achievement of the intended outcome. Beardsley, Kimberlin, and Tindall (2013) affirm that true interprofessional working is founded on the establishment of a strong collaboration between the respective team members. Additionally, interprofessional work should be based on a non-hierarchical structure and equality.
Despite their differences with regard to professionalism, the interprofessional team members should foster equality within the teams, which means that no team member should dominate or control the operations of the team. On the contrary, the interprofessional team goals should be set collaboratively by the participating organisations (Martin & Rogers 2004). Thus, to promote diversity, no team member should be discriminated against in the process of generating ideas for team activities (Yuki & Brewer 2009). In managing and minimising the possibility of conflicts occurring within the interprofessional teams, MTSA, Cantebury Christ Church University, and the local schools should focus on reinforcing common beliefs, practices, and values within the interprofessional team.
In addition to the above approaches, the three institutions should take into account effective team formation practices (Glatter 2003). Thus, the three institutions should focus on understanding the dynamics associated with the establishment of an interprofessional team. One of the models that the three institutions should take into account in the establishment of the interprofessional team includes the Tuckman model, which outlines the fundamental steps involved in establishing a team. The Tuckman model is comprised of five main stages, which include forming, norming, storming, performing, and adjourning (Enciso 2011). According to Harris, Roussel, and Thomas (2017), ‘the Tuckman model creates a framework for understanding group dynamics normalcy, moving from coming together, finding cohesiveness and synergy, producing measurable outcomes, dissolving and moving towards other team goals’ (p. 290).
In forming the interprofessional team, MTSA, and its partners should ensure that the interprofessional tasks and behaviours are clearly defined. The partners should further ensure that the interprofessional team members understand the storming as an essential stage in the establishment of interprofessional working. During this phase, MTSA and its partners should enable the team members to understand the importance of diversity and differences among the team members. Thus, the interprofessional team members should not resist divergence of opinion. This approach will enable the team to transition into the norming stage, which is characterised by a reduction in the degree of resistance. Martin and Rogers (2004) assert that during the norming stage, team cohesion increases, which increased the likelihood of the team performing or working towards the common goal. The team is dissolved in the adjourning stage, the team is dissolved. Adjourning occurs after the intended goal has been achieved. On achieving the intended goal, MTSA, and its partners may consider dissolving the interprofessional working or consider setting new goals. By applying the respective stages stipulated under Tuckman’s model, MTSA will succeed in establishing interprofessional working.
3.1 Nature of leadership
To promote interprofessional working, MTSA, and its partners should implement effective leadership approaches. Zaccaro and Klimoski (2001) emphasises that the purpose of integrating leadership is to ensure that the different subunits within an organisations are committed to achieving the overall purpose. Thus, in entrenching interprofessional working, ensure that the leadership approach contributes to the creation of a clear direction. According to Atkinson (2007), leadership should be aimed at establishing an enabling environment and processes that contribute to the achievement of the intended goal. Jonathan (2011) asserts that organisational purpose is defined by the stipulated mission, vision, plans, and goals. Leadership ensures that these elements are achieved. Thus, MTSA and its partners should consider leadership as a functional perspective in the quest to achieve the intended outcome. Zaccaro and Klimoski (2001) are of the view that ‘leadership is defined in terms of those activities that promote team and organisational goal attainment by being responsive to contextual demands’ (p. 7).
3.2 Leadership style
Collaboration within and between organisations is effective if they are based on shared goals and missions. However, to develop shared goals and mission, an open dialogue or communication is critical (Sims, Hewitt & Harris 2015). Additionally, the collaborative working approach should be based on trust. To gain success in interprofessional working, MTSA and its partners should ensure the right leadership style. Interprofessional working between the three entities depends on the nature of the collaboration that is established. Thus, the organisation should entrench a collaborative leadership style. Goodman and Clemow (2010) assert that collaboration leadership is one of the most challenging types of leadership because it requires a substantial amount of resources and time to establish. Collaborative leadership is based on the effectiveness with which people network, cooperate and communicate. Thus, under the collaborative leadership style, MTSA and its partners should ensure that there is no formal power or authority. On the contrary, the three partners should be peers in order foster cooperation. Chin and Trimble (2014) affirm that collaborative leadership enables organisations to successfully deal with internal challenges such as frustrations and scepticism among the team members. This arises from the fact that the team members cooperate in resolving emergent issues. Therefore, the integration of a collaborative leadership style will play a remarkable role in enhancing cohesion.
To succeed in entrenching interprofessional working, the three parties should ensure that effective team leadership practices are entrenched. MTSA and its partners should consider entrenching the Belbin team roles in order to foster interprofessional working. Lewis et al. (2008) assert that integrating the Belbin team role increases the likelihood of establishing a winning team. One of the team roles that MTSA should take into account in promoting interprofessional working entails the role of a shaper. According to Select Knowledge (2011), the shaper’s role is to promote a team’s performance by challenging complacency and ineffectiveness. By ensuring that the role of a shaper is effectively entrenched within the interprofessional team, MTSA and its partners will be able to enhance the team’s performance ensuring that the emergent challenges are eliminated (Hammick 2009).integrating the role of a shaper will ensure that the team members develop a sense of direction with regard to the team’s goal (Lewis et al. 2008). Interprofessional team leadership should also take into account the role of a coordinator. Hammick (2009) asserts that the role of a coordinator within a team is to promote decision-making and delegating tasks. Thus, implementing the role of a coordinator will enhance the efficacy with which MTSA, Cantebury Christ Church University, and the local schools collaborate in making decisions on the implementation of the intended school direct programmes, such as teaching, and staff CPD. Dickson and Glasby (2010) assert that effective coordination of interprofessional working increases the level of commitment amongst the stakeholders. Another fundamental team leadership role that the three stakeholders should take into account entails the role of a team worker. The significance of the team working within the interprofessional team is to enhance cooperation between the team members and ensure that friction amongst the team members is averted. MTSA, Cantebury Christ Church University, and the local schools partnering to implement the new teaching program should undertake a continuous evaluation of the progress of interprofessional working. This approach will play an essential role in ensuring that deviations that might occur in the interprofessional working process are duly addressed hence increasing the likelihood of achieving the intended goal.
3.3 Reflection on the impact of leadership on interprofessional working between MTSA, Canterbury Christ University, and the local schools
By integrating the collaborative leadership approach, MTSA, Canterbury Christ Church and the local schools will succeed in enhancing interprofessional working among them. This outcome will arise from the fact that the three parties will be able to establish a cooperative working approach. Thus, the interprofessional team will be able to effectively and efficiently resolve problems that might arise. The incorporation of collaborative leadership will further enable the three entities to succeed in establishing and maintaining stability within the interprofessional team. Subsequently, the likelihood of the institutions achieving the intended outcome will be improved substantially.
The collaborative leadership approach will further enhance the level of commitment amongst the interprofessional team members. This arises from the fact that the team members are provided an opportunity to share their ideas and opinion on the approach adopted in pursuing the intended goal (Evans 2012). The degree of inclusivity associated with the integration of collaborative leadership style enhances the performance of interprofessional teams because they promote diversity and involvement amongst all the team members.
4.0 Conclusion and Recommendations
Interprofessional working entails a complex approach that different agencies and institutions adopt in the quest to improve their operation efficiency hence delivering quality service to the target audience. The UK has over the past few years appreciated the significance of interprofessional working in enhancing the effectiveness with which educational institutions enhance learning. To promote learning, MTSA intends to enhance its effectiveness in imparting knowledge to students by partnering with Canterbury Christ Church University and the local schools. However, the effectiveness with which the three institutions achieve the intended outcome depends on how effectively the three parties entrench interprofessional working.
The analysis identifies the existence of conflict between interprofessional team members as one of the major hindrances to interprofessional working. Conflicts in interprofessional working might arise from differences in organisational culture differences between MTSA, Canterbury Christ Church University, and the local schools. To enhance interprofessional working, the three organisations should ensure that effective collaboration between the respective parties is enhanced. Thus, the three parties should establish a collaborative culture and eliminate boundaries that might hinder interprofesional working. One of the ways through which this goal can be achieved entails eliminating the professional boundaries between the respective organisations. The rationale for eliminating boundaries is to promote the concept of equality, which is critical in enhancing information sharing within multi-agency teams. Additionally, the three entities should ensure that effective procedures and processes are entrenched. The three entities should focus on nurturing a shared culture. This approach will play a critical role in eliminating the occurrence of conflict as a result of cultural differences.
The analysis further shows that it is possible for MTSA and its partners to successfully entrench interprofessional working by employing effective leadership and people management practices. One of the most effective leadership styles that can aid in the attainment of this outcome includes incorporating a collaborative leadership style. The suitability of the collaborative leadership style in implementing interprofessional working is underlined by the fact that it creates an environment for collaboration among the respective team members. However, in developing the interprofessional team, MTSA and its partners should employ the Tuckman’s model. The rationale for employing this model is underlined by the fact that it increases the likelihood of successfully establishing an interprofessional team. Moreover, the Belbin team roles should be entrenched in order to foster the effectiveness with which the interprofessional team operates as a unit. Creating the requisite team roles such as the roles of a shaper, coordinator, and team-worker will significantly increase the possibility of the team working collaboratively. Additionally, the three organisations will be able to overcome the possible conflicts that might arise within the interprofessional team. In summary, the application of effective people management and leadership skills can significantly increase success in interprofessional working. Subsequently, the likelihood of attaining the goal intended through interprofessional working is increased substantially.
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