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What is psychological safety?

ยท 500 words, 2 min read

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AusIMM is offering a new immersive Diversity and Inclusion workshop focusing on psychological safety prior to select luncheons during our 2023 International Womens Day (IWD) Series.

The workshops are an important step in taking action this IWD, providing attendees with the tools needed to drive an inclusive culture and achieve diversity.

What is psychological safety, and why is it important?

Dr Amy C Edmondson is Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at Harvard Business School. In her book The Fearless Organization, Dr Edmonson defines a psychologically safe workplace as one in which ‘people are not hindered by interpersonal fear…they fear holding back their full participation more than they fear sharing a potentially sensitive, threatening or wrong idea’ (Edmonson, 2018).

“Psychological safety — the belief that one can speak up without risk of punishment or humiliation — has been well established as a critical driver of high-quality decision making, healthy group dynamics and interpersonal relationships, greater innovation, and more effective execution in organizations.” (Edmonson, 2021).

AusIMM’s workshops will bring the concept of a psychologically safe workplace to life, by providing inspiration, practical advice and training to help foster a positive, inclusive culture.

What does the evidence say?

Organisational psychologist consultant The Humanology Group has measured Psychological Safety using the Psychological Safety Profile for Teams (PSP-T) for the last three years within the resources sector. Data from over 550 teams have identified that:

  • Individuals who were members of teams with low levels of psychological safety also self-reported low levels of individual mental health and well-being.
  • The most significant contributing factors to low levels of psychological safety were a lack of inclusion and trust between team members.

Additionally, Andrew Wilson, Director of consulting firm dss+, says 'research has proven workplaces that have not achieved psychological safety experience inaccurate or delayed reporting, disengaged employees, and a severe reduction in ideation, creativity, and constructive criticism' (Wilson, 2022). 

The workshops

Hear from our experts

The workshops will include a panel discussion from experts in organisational performance.

Naomi Armitage, Director of the Humanology Group, will present at the Brisbane workshop. To her, psychological safety is the enabler for all key business levers, from safety performance, diversity and inclusion, mental health and wellbeing, and reporting behaviours to innovation and improvement. ‘It underpins these levers by providing a common language, behaviours and mindset across teams, and organisations,’ Naomi says. Naomi circle iwd
Melanie circle IWD

Brisbane workshop attendees will also hear from Melanie Fisher, Psychologist, Global Practice Lead Care and Human Performance at BHP.

Melanie says that the importance of psychological safety is still not fully appreciated. ‘I think we often underestimate the power of psychological safety in enacting excellence through diversity – the concept itself is about creating necessity for voice and inviting all people to speak up and contribute to the sharing of knowledge and learning.’

Bystander training

Following the panel discussion, an immersive bystander training session will be held providing the tools for action. This session will be facilitated by experts from Griffith and Curtin Universities.

Workshop format

  • 8:30 am: Arrival morning tea and coffee networking
  • 9:00 am: Panel discussion
  • 10:00am: Immersive bystander training session
  • 11:00 am: Morning tea networking
  • 11:30 am: Workshop concludes

Find out more

To find out more and take part in our workshops, visit our website.


Edmonson A, 2018. The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth (Wiley: United States)

Edmonson A and Mortensen M, 2021. 'What Psychological Safety Looks Like in a Hybrid Workplace', Harvard Business Review [online]. Available from: 

Wilson, 2022. 'The business case for psychological safety', The Australian [online]. Available from: 

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