Can Workplaces Have Too Much Psychological Safety?

It is certainly important for people in some jobs to feel safe to speak up, make mistakes, take risks, or ask for help. They include jobs that involve creativity, learning, and exploration. But five studies of workers in a variety of frontline jobs found that more is not always more when it comes to psychological safety. Previous research had focused only on the average effects, which, of course, are made up of high scores and low scores. But psychological safety is not an “either/or” outcome; it is a question of degree. The authors found that when you move from average to high levels of psychological safety, performance in routine jobs actually declined.

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