The psychological safety imperative

Published on April 30, 2020   49 min

A selection of talks on Management, Leadership & Organisation

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Hello. I'm Amy Edmondson, and I am a professor at Harvard Business School. I am delighted to be able to talk to you about psychological safety today. The title of my talk is the psychological safety imperative.
All of the hospital names in this talk are completely disguised. They are not the names of real hospitals in the US or anywhere that I am aware of.
This talk will have two parts. The first part will describe the research journey that led to the discovery and demonstration of the power of psychological safety. Then the second part will be practical tips for creating psychological safety in the workplace.
The first study I want to tell you about led to the accidental discovery of psychological safety. My research question entering this study was, do better teams in hospitals make fewer medication errors? There were many reasons to believe why this might be the case. Research in aviation had shown that better teams in the cockpit made fewer errors in aviation simulators, and I wondered whether this might be true in healthcare as well, where the patient-care process is quite interdependent. Dependent variable, they would be assessing the rate and incidence of errors in these hospital units. My job was to administer a team diagnostic survey to assess the team properties of the units. When I first got my survey data and the error rate data that the investigators had collected, I was very happy to see that I had a significant correlation between error rates and team properties. It looked something like this.