Psychological Safety and Engagement in Teams

Last registered on October 15, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Psychological Safety and Engagement in Teams
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008359
Initial registration date
October 11, 2021
Last updated
October 15, 2021, 12:59 PM EDT

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität
PI Affiliation
INSEAD

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2021-09-09
End date
2022-09-30
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
In this study, we investigate the effect of managerial attention on employees’ engagement and psychological safety. The literature has shown that psychological safety is an important driver of a team’s healthy dynamics and performance. However less is knows on what interventions can increase psychological safety and why. We use a field setup in collaboration with a large firm; we nudge managers to increase psychological safety of their team members in one-to-one meetings. By introducing exogenous variation in the treatment, we aim to disentangle two underlying mechanisms: individual feeling of belonging to the team and the existence of team obstacles or constraints.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Castro, Silvia, Florian Englmaier and Maria Guadalupe. 2021. "Psychological Safety and Engagement in Teams." AEA RCT Registry. October 15. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8359-1.0
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
We conduct three treatments, one of which is a control treatment (C) in which we just observe the data being generated. C received an email about the importance of doing 1-2-1 meetings. T1 and T2 get an email about the importance of 1-2-1 meetings but are told in addition to run frequent ones and to focus those on improving psychological safety. Then T1 gets a pdf that encourages managers to let individuals let their uniqueness expressed at those meetings (individuation) and T2 focuses on removing blockers that may impede workers from being effective at work.
Intervention Start Date
2021-09-10
Intervention End Date
2022-09-01

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Psychological safety index, employee engagement, and turnover intentions

Primary Outcomes (explanation)
We will use self-reported measures from internal surveys like a psychological safety index from “Our Voice” survey, measures of employee engagement and turnover intentions.
In addition, we work towards ensuring access to hard behavioral measures, prominently Microsoft Workplace Analytics (WPA) data. Access to these data is pending approval by the work council.
Survey responses in endline survey; due to GDPR we will not have access to responses in teams with less than 5 responses. We conjecture that treatments will have a positive effect on survey response.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Additional survey measures from the company surveys

Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
runs. This will be the baseline.
In the experiment, managers receive an email indicating that they are part of a study on psychological safety and are told they can opt-out by just clicking a button. If they participate, they are allocated randomly to one of three groups. Control (C), treatment 1 (T1), and treatment 2 (T2):
• C gets an email about the importance of doing 1-2-1 meetings.
• T1 and T2 get an email about the importance of 1-2-1 meetings but are told in addition to run frequent ones and to focus those on improving psychological safety.
o T1 gets a pdf that encourages managers to let individuals let their uniqueness expressed at those meetings (individuation)
o T2 focuses on removing blockers that may impede workers from being effective at work.
We launch two sets of reminders to T1 and T2 over a 2 month period.
At endline the company runs again their engagement survey that includes a measure of psychological safety.

Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization by computer
Randomization Unit
Randomization was done on the level of team managers, i.e. teams.
Was the treatment clustered?
Yes

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Dependent on managers opting to participate in the study, we estimate a minimum sample of 200 clusters, i.e. teams. Emails were sent to 1.000 managers/teams
Sample size: planned number of observations
A minimum of 1.00 workers (if at least 200 managers opt to participate)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
50-100 teams in Control, 50-100 teams in T1, 50-100 teams in T2
We will aim for an as big as possible sample; the final sample size will depend on 1) willingness of partner to involve teams, 2) opt-out of the team( manager)s from the study, and 3)survey response of teams (as teams with less than 5 responses will be excluded from analysis by our partner)
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Assume selection in and out is orthogonal to treatment
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
INSEAD INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD
IRB Approval Date
2021-09-09
IRB Approval Number
2021-68