Purpose: The purpose of the paper is to show that free flowing teamwork depends on at least three aspects of team life: functional diversity, social cohesion and superordinate identity. Design/methodology/approach: The paper takes the approach of a discussion, arguing for a strong need to understand multidisciplinary and cross-functional barriers for achieving team goals in the context of health care. These barriers include a strong medically dominated business model, historically anchored delineations between professional identities and a complex organisational environment where individuals may have conflicting goals. Findings: The paper finds that the complexity is exacerbated by the differences between and within health care teams. It illustrates the differences by presenting the case of an operating theatre team. Research limitations/implications: Whilst the paper recommends some ideas for acquiring these skills, further research is needed to assess effectiveness and influence of team skills training on optimising multidisciplinary interdependence in the health care environment. Originality/value: The paper shows that becoming a team member requires team membership skills.
Journal of Health, Organization and Management Vol. 22, Issue 2, p. 129-146