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Communication Breakdown

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Week 1 Assessment – Communication Breakdown
Patricia Maestas
Stevens-Henager College
HRM-410 – Conflict Resolution in the Workplace
Ryan Tew

Week 1 Assessment – Communication Breakdown

1. Analyze what filters were in place to block effective communication between the Hospital administrators, medical staff, and affected patients. Communication is a learned skill. There was no communication at all between the Hospital administrators, medical staff, and affected patients at first. The administrators and medical staff seemed to panic. Strong emotions can either prevent people from hearing what a speaker has to say or make them too susceptible to the speaker’s point of view. Attitudes can be a barrier to communication in much the same way as emotions. I think the administrators were very upset and could not believe that this problem actually happened. Duke administrators were slow to notify the nearly 3,700 surgical patients who may have had contact with the improperly cleaned surgical instruments. This was definitely a part of nonverbal communication. Duke should have made more information available sooner and notified the patients immediately. When the crisis team got involved it seems like the information went out more quickly.

2. Evaluate how the original problem could have been intercepted before it became a Health care crisis.
Duke employees should have never assumed the drums were surplus stock, and return them to the original vendor, Cardinal Health, a hospital-supply company. They should have checked what was in the drums before returning them to the vendor. Even after this mistake, the employees at Cardinal
Health should have detected the contents of the detergent drums and never delivered the drums to
Duke hospitals. This is a situation where nobody communicated and the result was a lot of suffering patients.

3. Let’s assume that you have been hired to study the series of mix-ups that involved personnel employed by Automatic Elevator, Cardinal Health, and Duke Hospitals; propose your recommendation that would prevent a re-occurrence of this costly crisis. Well I would start by making sure that there is a clear line of communication. Communication is an essential system in all organizations. Organizations depend on all aspects of communication from verbal to nonverbal to perform their daily business functions. Everyone needs to be on the same page about the day to day goals and requirements. I would make sure that the Duke employees make sure to check all of the contents before returning anything to the original vendors. I would also make sure that the employees at Cardinal Health would always check the contents as well. If everyone communicates then there should be no more mix ups. Communication in the workplace reflects key personality traits, as well as key competencies for success.


Reece, B. L., Brandt, R., & Howie, K. F. (2008). Effective Human Relations:Interpersonal and Organizational Applications, Eleventh Edition. Mason: South-Western Cengage Learning.

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