As interprofessional collaboration becomes more commonplace in health and social care, both scholars and practitioners are searching for ways to make the most out of functionally diverse teams. Earlier research has shown that the presence of different functional backgrounds may lead teams to perform better, because they have a larger pool of knowledge and experience to draw from. Other studies show, however, that functional diversity increases categorization, reduces team cohesion, and complicates interpersonal communication, thereby reducing performance. It remains unclear under which conditions positive or negative outcomes may occur. The present research tested the influence of functional diversity on team identity, team performance, and client satisfaction, and examined factors which may moderate these relationships. Based on earlier studies in this specific context, we focused on three team processes as possible moderators: shared vision, interaction frequency, and team reflexivity. In a survey among health and social care professionals working in community care teams in the Netherlands (n = 167), all three are shown to moderate the relationship between functional diversity and team effectiveness. In the absence of these processes, functional diversity appears to reduce team outcomes, whereas when these processes are present, the relationships are positive. In sum, in order for community care teams to reap the benefits of functional diversity, it is essential that members develop a shared vision, interact frequently, and practice team reflexivity.

, , , , , ,,
Journal of applied social psychology

Hofhuis, J., Mensen, M., ten Den, L., van den Berg, A., Koopman-Draijer, M., van Tilburg, M., … de Vries, S. (2018). Does functional diversity increase effectiveness of community care teams?. Journal of applied social psychology, 48(10), 535–548. doi:10.1111/jasp.12533