This case shows the impact of two distinctively different styles of management. Dr. Robert Uric was the head of the Renal Medicine Unit at a large university medical school and teaching hospital. There was a steady undercurrent of hostility and competition between the hospital and the medical school. The physical plant, designed in the shape of an H, paralleled and accentuated the organizational structure. A large part of the problem was the unusual nature of the financial arrangements. The inconsistencies between the operations of the hospital and those of the medical school were highlighted by the integration of medical school faculty into hospital functions. Personnel from each side complained about the other side. One exception was Dr. Robert Uric, head of the renal unit. He was liked by the hospital employees with whom he worked. He was very involved with his patients and students. In one of his research studies on kidneys, he identified a fluid which would extend the life of a cut-stem flower. After it was rejected by NIH and the university, Uric sold the rights to a nursery, which started marketing the product successfully under the name Flower Life. NIH filed a suit and the university and Uric were involved in the controversy. The university decided to replace Uric with Dr. Conrad, who had a reputation for being hard-nosed, and put Uric in a less visible, newly created research chair in medicine. Under Conrad, serious problems arose in the dialysis unit; absenteeism, turnover, and grievances went up substantially. Patients were unhappy and the roster of residents for the service went down dramatically. Shocked by the realization of how bad the situation had become, the dean and the executive committee immediately placed Uric back as head of the renal unit; they began to analyze what had happened and what could be done to put the renal unit—and the hospital’s reputation—back together again.
II. Possible Responses to the Study Guides
1. Identify the barriers to communication in this case, and describe their impact on the hospital’s effectiveness.
• Both personal and physical barriers to communication exists in this case.
• A personal barrier exists in the university’s treatment of the dialysis unit. A lot of people do not approve of how Dr. Uric behaves and conducts his business.
• Physical barriers arise from the H-shape structure of the physical plant.
• the impact of these barriers can be seen in dissatisfaction and complaining by personnel on each side about the other side.
2. Compare and contrast the two doctors’ styles of management and the apparent reflections of Theory X and Theory Y assumptions of each of the doctors.
• Dr. Uric’s involvement with his patients and students exemplifies a tendency toward Theory Y, whereas Dr. Conrad’s hard-nosed style leans toward Theory X.
3. Relate various motivational theories, such as McClelland’s drives, Herzberg’s two-factory theory, and the expectancy model, to this case.
• Did Dr. Uric seem to have the high achievement and high affiliation motivation, whereas Dr. Conrad has low affiliation and high power motivation?
• Did Dr. Uric used maintenance factors by sharing his grant money and maintaining good relations with others to motivate his staff and patients and neutralize the dissatisfaction?
• Instrumentality and expectancy are low under Dr. Conrad’s management, whereas they seem to be high under Dr. Uric’s leadership. Was Dr. Uric himself highly motivated and had a high expectancy instrumentality and valence (e.g., receiving the grant, successfully finding a buyer for the plant fluid)?