February 24, 2022

3:00 p.m.

This event is for invited researchers only.

Scholar presenter:

Adaora Ubaka, University of Illinois at Chicago

Seed generators:

Lakshmi Ramarajan, Harvard University
Lindy Greer, University of Michigan


Deactivating Threat Through Intergroup Ensemble: A Process Model of Building Integrated Psychological Safety in Racially Diverse Spaces

Talk description:

Psychological safety is a beneficial social-psychological state that promotes positive outcomes in the workplace such as greater information sharing and enhanced organizational learning. However, within ethnically and racially diverse environments there are often impeding mechanisms (e.g., identity threat, sub-group formation) that prevent psychological safety from occurring between diverse employees. Moreover, what remains to be established is how such a form of psychological ease can be generated to augment the relational space between heterogeneous employees and support organizational inclusion efforts. The present study is situated within an ethnically and racially diverse business school course that uses an imaginative form of group-based play, to teach students professional skills. Using inductive, qualitative methods, we examine how the process of psychological safety unfolds within a racially diverse context. In doing so, we identify features inherent in imaginative play that enable a a specific form of psychological safety – integrated safety to occur. We define integrated safety as a state of ease between demographically dissimilar individuals in which each person experiences a release from the intrapsychic threats (e.g., identity, and stereotype threats; intergroup anxiety) that have historically characterized intergroup interactions. We present the key implications of our theorizing for enacting diversity and inclusion trainings and augmenting perceptions of inclusion and equity.

Research is the heart of Positive Organizational Scholarship (POS), and we want to make sure that we support each other in developing high quality research. To that end, we created the Adderley Positive Research Incubator for sharing and encouraging POS-related research ideas that are at various stages of development.

Learn more about the Adderley Positive Research Incubators here and direct questions about individual sessions to cpo-events@umich.edu.