Case: The Long, Loud Silence
Case: The Long, Loud Silence
As the director of health information management who was recently hired from another organization, it did not take long to discover that morale in your new department has been low ebb for quite some time. As you undertook to become acquainted with each of your employees, you quickly became inundated with complaints and other evidences of discontent. Most of the complaints concerned problems with administration, the financial division, and the records-related practices of physicians, but there were also a few complaints by staff about other members of the department and a couple of thinly veiled charges concerning health information services personnel who “carry tales to administration.”
In listening to the problems, it occurred to you that there were a number of common threads running through them, and a great deal of misunderstanding could be cleared up if the gripes were aired in open fashion with the entire group. You then planned a staff meeting for that purpose and asked all employees to be prepared to air their complaints-except those involving other employees by name- at the meeting. Most of the employees seemed to think such a staff meeting was a good idea, and several assured you they would be ready to speak up.
Your first staff meeting, however, turned out to be brief. When offered the opportunity to air the gripes, no one spoke.
This result-silence-was the same at your next staff meeting four weeks later, although in the intervening period you were steadily bombarded with complaints from individuals. This experience left you frustrated because you regarded many problems as problems of the group rather than as problems of individuals.
Describe in detail what you believe you can do to get the group off dead center and to open up about what is bothering them.
Describe how you might approach the specific problem of one or more of your employees carrying complaints outside of the department-that is, “carrying tales to administration.”
Describe several means of organizational communication at your disposal that you believe might be applied in helping to address this department’s problems.
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