Interprofessional teamwork: the role of professional identity and signature pedagogy – a mixed methods study

Stephanie Best*, Christian Beech, Iain J. Robbé, Sharon Williams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: One overlooked determinant of interprofessional teamwork is the mobilisation of professional identity. Taking a health or social care practitioner out of their professional silo and placing them in an interprofessional team setting will challenge their professional identity. The theory of signature pedagogy was used to investigate the challenges and what is needed to support practitioners to mobilise their professional identity to maximise teamwork. Design/methodology/approach: A cross-sectional mixed methods study was undertaken in the form of three focus groups, with members of health and social care teams in Wales, UK. Using nominal group technique, participants explored and ranked the challenges and benefits of mobilising their professional identity within an interprofessional setting. Findings: Findings on mobilising professional identity were found to be aligned closely with the three signature pedagogy apprenticeships of learning to think and to perform like others in their profession and to act with moral integrity. The biggest challenge facing practitioners was thinking like others in their profession while in an interprofessional team. Research limitations/implications: The focus of this study is health and social care teams within Wales, UK, which may limit the results to teams that have a similar representation of professionals. Practical implications: Healthcare leaders should be aware of the opportunities to promote mobilisation of professional identity to maximise teamwork. For example, at induction, by introducing the different roles and shared responsibilities. Such practical implications do have consequences for policy as regards interprofessional team development and organisational commitments to adult learning and evaluation. Originality/value: This is the first study of professional identity of interprofessional healthcare and social professionals using signature pedagogy to gain a better understanding of teamwork.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)561-578
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Health, Organisation and Management
Issue number5
Early online date17 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2021


  • Health and social care
  • Mobilisation
  • Professional identity
  • Signature pedagogy
  • Teams


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