Getting the most out of multidisciplinary teams: A multi-sample study of team innovation in health care


Correspondence should be addressed to Dr Doris Fay, Work and Organisational Psychology Group, Aston University, Aston Triangle, Birmingham B4 7ET, UK (e-mail:


Driven by the assumption that multidisciplinarity contributes positively to team outcomes teams are often deliberately staffed such that they comprise multiple disciplines. However, the diversity literature suggests that multidisciplinarity may not always benefit a team. This study departs from the notion of a linear, positive effect of multidisciplinarity and tests its contingency on the quality of team processes. It was assumed that multidisciplinarity only contributes to team outcomes if the quality of team processes is high. This hypothesis was tested in two independent samples of health care workers (N = 66 and N = 95 teams), using team innovation as the outcome variable. Results support the hypothesis for the quality of innovation, rather than the number of innovations introduced by the teams.