Other (O2)

Psychological Safety and Learning Behaviors in Virtual Work Environments
(Conference abstract)

List of AuthorsAleem Majid, Zettinig Peter, Mockaitis Audra

Conference nameVaasa Conference on International Business

PublisherUniversity of Vaasa

Publication year2021

Book title *Proceedings: 16th Vaasa Conference on International Business August 17-18, 2021



Extant research shows that team members who perceive that they can take risks and make mistakes without fear of negative repercussions perform better as teams. We pursue the question whether this explanation also holds in the context of virtual team work in globally distributed multinational teams. Using the constructs of psychological safety, team learning behavior, efficacy and internal motivation of team members, we explain team-learning outcomes in multinational virtual work environments. The purpose of the study is to test the findings of Edmondson (1999) and extend the research to the context of virtual work environments and consider additional explanations why this effect occurs. Furthermore, as opposed to a crosssectional approach in the original research design (Edmondson, 1999), this study analyzes these constructs by using a longitudinal approach where data has been collected at four different time points from the same participants. To study connections between individual and team level factors over time in contexts that are virtual, consisting of globally distributed multinational team members is relevant as the world has been moving quickly towards this form of organizing due to reorganization of work practices due to Covid-19. We want to stimulate discussions that reflect on team performance but also individual level wellbeing factors that are under-researched. The data has been collected from student teams constituting of executive MBA participants and Master’s degree students, located in Finland, Ireland, Estonia, Latvia and Mexico. 30 teams constituting of 145 individuals, producing 411 observations, participated in this study. Individuals responded to four surveys with gaps of two to three weeks in between each survey, while working in the same teams on consulting projects. This work in progress paper reports on preliminary findings of our analysis, drawing on descriptive statistics and structural equation modeling. This paper contributes to the string of literature based on Edmondson’s original work. First, we tested her findings in the context of global virtual teams, then, we altered the research design to a longitudinal study, which can identify the dynamics of the psychological safety concept and third, we considered alternative explanations why this surprising effect –team members making more mistakes create better team outcomes, occurs. The results have important implications for work practices, in terms of performance and individuals’ wellbeing, while organizations restructure to benefit from virtual means.

Last updated on 2021-18-08 at 16:00