Professional diversity, identity salience and team innovation: The moderating role of openmindedness norms

Rebecca Mitchell, Brendan Boyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Citations (Scopus)


The impact of diverse composition in teams is neither straightforward nor direct, and evidence suggests that diversity can be either conducive or detrimental to team innovation. Professionally diverse healthcare teams are increasingly used to develop innovative clinical approaches and solve complex healthcare problems; however, there is evidence that collaboration across professional boundaries creates conflict and is frequently unsuccessful. Healthcare organizations consequently face a dilemma. If they embrace professional diversity in teams, they risk interprofessional hostility, but if they choose homogeneous teams, they diminish their teams' capacity to innovate. We respond to this quandary by utilizing social identity theory to better understand the mechanisms through which professional diversity can enhance team innovation. In particular, we argue that professional identity salience operates as a mediator capable of explaining both positive and negative outcomes of professional diversity, contingent on the moderating effect of openmindedness norms. Analysis of survey data from 70 healthcare teams supports our model and indicates that professional salience can both enhance and undermine team innovation, depending on the extent of team openmindedness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)873-894
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • healthcare teams
  • diversity
  • social identity


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