Graduate School of Business


Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)


Merle Edward Heckman


employee grievances, HCWs, leaders, inability, impact




Grievances are common within the workplace representing the major challenges that employees face making it difficult for them to work. Employee grievances are harmful to organizations because they reduce productivity, motivation, and job satisfaction undermining performance. The purpose of this flexible qualitative phenomenological study was to explore and expand the understanding of the impact and the inability of leaders to provide solutions to employee grievances in the healthcare industry in the northeastern part of the United States resulting in the reduction of organizational performance. The study involved conducting semi-structured interviews with 20 research participants consisting of 10 organizational leaders and 10 junior employees. Thematic analysis was conducted resulting in the identification of nine main themes: employee grievances in the healthcare environment; causes of employee grievances; the impact of employee grievances; addressing employee grievances; leaders’ role in addressing employee grievances; leaders’ actions/behaviours that cause their inability to address employee grievances; leaders’ action/behaviors that enhance their ability to address employee grievances; and changes needed to improve leaders’ ability in addressing employee grievances. Accordingly, several key conclusions were made based on the findings of this research study. One of the conclusions reached was there are several grievances faced by healthcare workers (HCWs) that include, heavy workload, poor response to the effects of COVID-19, burnout, long workhours and minimum work-life balance, and inadequate compensation and pay. Further, the conclusions of this study include organizational leaders are integral towards addressing employee grievances through their actions and behavior. Accordingly, leaders must recognize ways of enhancing their ability to address employee grievances and the impact this has on the employees. Based on the findings of this study, the following are the recommendations for further research, additional research regarding the training of leaders on employee grievance management, conducting quantitative research entailing a larger sample size, and more research on the collaboration between leaders and employees towards addressing grievances.

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