Where the difference lies : nursing conflict themes and the role of facework tactics in nursing interaction

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Wilt, Randolph Ray

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Scholars have described conflict tactics as a means to engage or avoid a conflict, and face tactics as a means of face-saving by way of defense or restoration. While theories of conflict and face flourish, few researchers have sought an explanation of conflict themes within the field of nursing or examined how nurses display face-saving tactics within their conflict interactions. The goal of this study is to identify the connection of these concepts through a qualitative analysis of conflict stories compiled from interviews with licensed floor-nurses. The data is analyzed two ways: first, as conflict themes in stories about nurses’ floor/shift work; and secondly, as communicative face tactics used in conjunction with conflict styles as viewed through a nurses’ conflict-interaction. The study identified three outcomes. From the analysis of conflict stories, an updated and extended view of conflict themes in nursing is developed. Specific face tactics surfaced within certain conflict themes supporting the concept that face tactics can directly affect the outcome of a conflict interaction. And lastly, the discovery of new restorative and defensive face tactics not previously identified in research literature. The implications for theory and practical application are also discussed, as is the proposed direction for future research.



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