Structure and Meaning in Multidisciplinary Teamwork
Article first published online: 27 DEC 2001
Blackwell Publishers Ltd 1998
Sociology of Health & Illness
Volume 20, Issue 6, pages 848–873, November 1998
How to Cite
Cott, C. (1998), Structure and Meaning in Multidisciplinary Teamwork. Sociology of Health & Illness, 20: 848–873. doi: 10.1111/1467-9566.00132
- Issue published online: 27 DEC 2001
- Article first published online: 27 DEC 2001
- Cited By
- multidisciplinary teams;
- long-term care;
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between structure and meaning in multidisciplinary long-term care teams. In-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with 26 staff working on five multidisciplinary teams in the same long-term care facility in Metropolitan Toronto. Staff in different structural locations have differing meanings of work and teamwork. Direct caregiving nursing staff have simple role-sets, minimal involvement in team decision-making and ritualistic orientations towards their work and teamwork.
Multidisciplinary professionals have complex role-sets, greater involvement in team decision-making and organic orientations towards their work and teamwork. Supervisory nurses are in a contradictory structural location and shared aspects of both orientations to teamwork. The lack of shared meanings results in alienation from work and teamwork for staff in lower structural positions which, in turn, has considerable implications for team functioning.