Aim: To critically appraise and synthesize empirical studies that examined conflict-management styles used by nursing professionals when dealing with conflict. Background: Conflict is an organisational issue not new to the nursing profession. Despite the increasing research interest on this topic, no studies had been conducted to appraise and summarize evidence that examined conflict-management styles in nursing professionals. Method: An integrative review method was used to analyse the findings. The primary databases used to access articles published from 2000 onwards were CINAHL, Medline, Psych Info, ERIC, Embase and SCOPUS. The search words and MeSH terms included: conflict, management, nursing, nurse manager, nurse, style, and strategy. Results: Twenty-five studies met the inclusion criteria. Integration was the most frequent style employed by nursing professionals when dealing and managing conflict, followed by accommodation. Avoiding and competing were found to be the least frequently used styles. Mixed and conflicting results were obtained when nurses’ demographic variables were considered. Studies are needed to examine how organisational and interpersonal factors influence nurses’ choice of style for handling conflicts. Conclusion: Findings demonstrated that nursing professionals used constructive/positive conflict management approaches rather than destructive/negative conflict management approaches. Implications for Nursing Management: This integrative review provided up-to-date evidence that is useful when formulating interventions to equip nurses with positive conflict-management styles necessary to mitigate and manage conflict. Such interventions may include: structured training on conflict management, team building, and conflict coaching activities, continuing professional development, reflective exercises, simulation, and role playing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas