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Management-related and activity-related factors of psychological safety

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Published in EARLI SIG 14 Conference (European Association for Research on Learning. Special Interest Group on Learning and professional development). Oslo (Norway) - 27-29 August 2014 - . 2014
Abstract The study presented in this paper focuses on the role of psychological safety (Carmeli, 2007; Edmondson, 1999; Edmondson & Lei, 2014) in workplace learning and some of its conditions in organizational settings. Psychological safety is understood in the literature, to put it shortly, as the perception by employees that they can safely adopt learning behaviors involving risk for one’s self-image (for example, asking for help or speaking up about one’s errors) without fearing to be misjudged by their colleagues and/or supervisors. On the basis of the findings of a preliminary exploratory research conducted in a humanitarian action context, the present study further explores three research questions about (1) the role of some characteristics of the management in the psychological safety as perceived by employees, (2) the coping strategies and resources that are used by employees when facing a low level of psychological safety, and (3) the role of the work activity itself in psychological safety and learning behaviors. This study, based on repeated in-depth interviews of 15 medical radiology technicians in a radiology department of a Swiss hospital, showed (1) the negative impact of some characteristics of the management, such as ”double-bind” expectation or low technical legitimacy in term of technical expertise or lack recognition of the complexity and value of the employees activity upon psychological safety; (2) the variety of both behavioural and cognitive coping strategies that may be used by employees to overcome psychologically insecure work environment; and (3) the dangerosity of the activity itself as a factor that may enhance (rather than hinder) ego-threatening learning behaviors in the workplace. On the basis of these findings, we suggest a tentative reconceptualization of psychological safety as a bidimensional construct, as well as a new way of modelling its relationship to learning behaviors in the wokplace.
Keywords Psychological safetyManagementTeam workingWorkplace learning
Note EARLI SIG 14 Conference
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Research group Formation et organisation (FOR)
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MORNATA, Cecilia, BOURGEOIS, Etienne. Management-related and activity-related factors of psychological safety. In: EARLI SIG 14 Conference (European Association for Research on Learning. Special Interest Group on Learning and professional development). Oslo (Norway). [s.l.] : [s.n.], 2014. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:76723

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Deposited on : 2015-10-31

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