Although much of the work we do is achieved through talk, we still understand relatively little about the nature of communication within professional groups. Drawing on extensive recordings and interviews from three different professional settings, Language and Professional Identity explores the fascinating interactional world of such groups, offering insights that will be relevant to trainers and managers as well as to the applied linguistics and communication specialists for whom it is primarily intended. Keith Richards reveals the subtle and surprising ways in which professional groups construct and reinforce shared identity and how this generates professional dividends - at considerable risk. Particular attention is paid to aspects of professional talk such as argument, anecdote and humour, all appropriated and exploited by collaborative groups in unexpected but systematic ways. As well as highlighting the drawbacks and advantages of collaborative talk, the book also points to ways of improving professional performance through improving interaction.