Introduction: Intersectoral integration is recommended in vocational rehabilitation, though difficult to implement. We describe barriers to and strategies for the development of normative integration in an intersectoral, team-based vocational rehabilitation intervention.
Method: Attitudes and behaviours regarding the development of shared culture, norms, and goals in the collaboration between health care professionals and employment consultants were investigated through 30 semi-structured interviews, participant observation of 12 intersectoral meetings, and document analysis of 12 joint plans.
Results: Organisational factors and unsettled power balance between professionals constituted barriers to the development of a shared culture. These issues were resolved by establishing smaller work teams, and through health care professionals' gradual acceptance of employment consultants' control in their capacity as administrators of legislation. Some barriers to shared norms were resolved explicitly, whereas implicit diverging norms were continuously negotiated. The development of shared goals was supported by clarifying the fit between individual, professional, and organisational goals, though the alignment of goals required a paradigmatic change of mindset among the health care professionals.
Conclusion: This study shows how normative integration among health care professionals and employment consultants is feasible in co-located intersectoral teams, with positive implications for the delivery of coherent support.