Collaboration in a competitive healthcare system: negotiation 101 for clinicians

Robyn Clay-Williams*, Andrew Johnson, Paul Lane, Zhicheng Li, Lauren Camilleri, Teresa Winata, Michael Klug

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to evaluate the effectiveness of negotiation training delivered to senior clinicians, managers and executives, by exploring whether staff members implemented negotiation skills in their workplace following the training, and if so, how and when. Design/methodology/approach: This is a qualitative study involving face-to-face interviews with 18 senior clinicians, managers and executives who completed a two-day intensive negotiation skills training course. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, and inductive interpretive analysis techniques were used to identify common themes. Research setting was a large tertiary care hospital and health service in regional Australia. Findings: Participants generally reported positive affective and utility reactions to the training, and attempted to implement at least some of the skills in the workplace. The main enabler was provision of a Negotiation Toolkit to assist in preparing and conducting negotiations. The main barrier was lack of time to reflect on the principles and prepare for upcoming negotiations. Participants reported that ongoing skill development and retention were not adequately addressed; suggestions for improving sustainability included provision of refresher training and mentoring. Research limitations/implications: Limitations include self-reported data, and interview questions positively elicited examples of training translation. Practical implications: The training was well matched to participant needs, with negotiation a common and daily activity for most healthcare professionals. Implementation of the skills showed potential for improving collaboration and problem solving in the workplace. Practical examples of how the skills were used in the workplace are provided. Originality/value: To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first international study aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of an integrative bargaining negotiation training program targeting executives, senior clinicians and management staff in a large healthcare organization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-278
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of health organization and management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Negotiation
  • Non-technical skills
  • Resilient health care
  • Training


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