Definition

The factor – Role Clarity – involves two elements:

    • Understanding and agreement of roles and mandates,
    • Flexible roles/accountability.


Research Icon
Research shows that role clarity is the most frequently noted interpersonal factor that influences collaboration.

Role clarity refers to the understanding and agreement of roles and mandates of persons involved in the collaboration at the interpersonal level.


Public Health NurseAs described by one public health nurse:

We all have our clearly defined roles and responsibilities, we know who’s doing what, and by when...”

Role clarity also involves partners in a collaboration being flexible and adaptable in their roles.
Example of Role Clarity

RND_DeliverFor example, one public health support staff’s role in one setting is to deliver vaccines to primary care practices throughout the region.

This staff member goes beyond delivering vaccines and supplies and resources related to immunizations and checking for cold chain breaks. She listens to questions, communicates messages, and provides an excellent public relations role for public health.

RND_PhoneHowever, given that she does not have a professional background, she does not give advice — that role is specific to the public health nurse. In response to a concern from the primary care sector that was communicated to the public health driver, the public health nurse conveniently answers questions by telephone to the primary care practice.

This example illustrates that the importance of role clarity in collaboration is not only vital for professional staff, but also for support staff such as clerks, receptionists and delivery staff.

Le facteur – Clarté du rôle – implique deux éléments

    • Understanding and agreement of roles and mandates,
    • Flexible roles/accountability.


Research IconResearch shows that role clarity is the most frequently noted interpersonal factor that influences collaboration.

Role clarity refers to the understanding and agreement of roles and mandates of persons involved in the collaboration at the interpersonal level.


Public Health NurseAs described by one public health nurse:

We all have our clearly defined roles and responsibilities, we know who’s doing what, and by when...”

Role clarity also involves partners in a collaboration being flexible and adaptable in their roles.
Example of Role Clarity

RND_DeliverFor example, one public health support staff’s role in one setting is to deliver vaccines to primary care practices throughout the region.

This staff member goes beyond delivering vaccines and supplies and resources related to immunizations and checking for cold chain breaks. She listens to questions, communicates messages, and provides an excellent public relations role for public health.

RND_PhoneHowever, given that she does not have a professional background, she does not give advice — that role is specific to the public health nurse. In response to a concern from the primary care sector that was communicated to the public health driver, the public health nurse conveniently answers questions by telephone to the primary care practice.

This example illustrates that the importance of role clarity in collaboration is not only vital for professional staff, but also for support staff such as clerks, receptionists and delivery staff.