research@hec - Issue #15 - (Page VI)
How to Develop Feelings of Safety and Social Ties
In recent decades, as the importance of collaboration in business has grown, numerous researchers have taken an interest in the way in which teams’ general state of mind and the social ties formed within them can influence their results. But while many studies have sought to understand the consequences of these two factors in collective performance, until now few have looked into how they emerge. In this study, Schulte, Cohen, and Klein try to understand the mechanisms through which collective perceptions and social networks mutually influence each other. To do so, they concentrate on psychological safety and the ways in which it can impact or be impacted by affective and professional bonds.
Mathis Schulte is professor of human resources management at HEC Paris. He has previously taught negotiation and conflict resolution at the Wharton School of Business. He obtained his doctorate in social and organizational psychology in 2008 from Columbia University in New York. His research focuses on the creation of social networks and social climates within organizations, and their effects on employee satisfaction, customer service, and financial performance.
PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY The psychological safety of a team is a shared perception of the climate reigning within the group. Members feel safe if they expect to be treated with respect and goodwill, and in particular if they think that they will not be punished or put into difficulty by their peers if they express their opinion or show their weaknesses. Psychological safety thus encourages expression and promotes personal engagement. It improves both members’ learning and overall team efficiency. But individual perceptions of psychological safety also influence interactions
In a team, where does the feeling of safety come from, and how do social ties between team members form? According to Mathis Schulte, Andrew Cohen, perceptions. cal state of a team are tightly linked. Members’ perceptions affect the evolu-
and Katherine Klein, relationships within social structures and the psychologi-
tion of the social structure of the team, which in turn affect the team members’
INTERACTIONS BETWEEN INDIVIDUAL PERCEPTIONS AND SOCIAL TIES To evaluate how psychological safety influences social ties, the researchers looked at three mechanisms: • Prospective action: an individual’s perception of the team can influence the bonds he wishes to form with other team members. The more positive the perception, the higher the probability that one adopt a constructive attitude (offers of friendship ties, or advice offered in anticipation of a favorable response). • Attraction: an individual with a positive perception of the team will more easily attract requests for friendship, advice, help... • Homophilia: individuals with similar perceptions of the team are more inclined to form bonds together. But an opposite phenomenon can also be observed: the social ties within a team can in turn shape perceptions. In this case, the researchers speak of retrospective sense-making, which is marked by: • Reactions: the social ties that an individual receives
between team members. The basic building blocks of team-internal social networks thus rest on the bonds between individuals and these individuals’ perceptions of psychological safety. But how can the emergence of these bonds and perceptions be explained?
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of research@hec - Issue #15
Cover & Contents
- Understanding Categorisation as a Guide toMarketing Strategy
- Small Countries and Risks of Deindustrialization
- Teams: How to Develop Feelings of Safety and Social Ties
- “HEC-Dow Jones Private Equity Fitness Ranking™”
research@hec - Issue #15