Hosted by Dr. Shreya Sarkar-Barney

How Leaders can Create Psychological Safety by Encouraging Voice

Dr. James (Jim) R. Detert

This podcast is on the topic of psychological safety and voice. Popularized by Google’s study on great managers, most organizations aspire to create a psychologically safe environment where employees can thrive, and innovation can flourish. However, numerous scandals at leading firms show that when there are cases of egregious misconduct or misbehaviors, most employees feel unsafe to speak up. In this conversation, Dr. Jim Detert provides powerful tips for leaders on how to create a safe work environment.


      By subscribing you receive notification when a new podcast is released and gain access to the podcast transcript

About Our Episode On Psychological Safety

  • An explanation of the concepts of voice and silence, and their significance to workplaces.
    What silence reflects about an organization or a leader.
  • The value in investing resources to understand the level of silence within an organization.
  • How voice and silence relate to the topic of psychological safety.
  • The topic of psychological safety has gained salience since the Google study on great managers. As we think of voice, silence, and psychological safety, which one of the three should organizations be looking to improve?
  • Whose safety is more important in reference to Psychological safety- the one speaking up or the ones listening?
  • Guidance for managers on the issue of Psychological Safety.

This podcast is on the topic of psychological safety and voice. Notably, this topic was brought to the forefront by Google’s study on great managers. In addition to Google’s study, I have also seen it frequently adressed in my work with teams, but find that most leaders don’t have all the tools to develop the feeling of psychological safety for employees. Fortunately, Dr. Jim Detert is an expert on the topic of courage, voice, and psychological safety. Along with his research colleague, Dr. Amy Edmondson, he has conducted groundbreaking research that sheds light on what leaders can do to create psychological safety. Our conversation focuses on what we know from the science and analyses of cases I frequently encounter in organizations.

Meet the Speaker From Our Podcast on Psychological Safety

Dr. James (Jim) R. Detert

Dr. James (Jim) R. Detert

John L. Colley Professor of Business Administration
University of Virginia Darden School of Business


Dr. Jim Detert is the John L. Colley Professor of Business Administration in the Leadership and Organizational Behavior area at the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business Administration. In specific, Dr. Detert’s research focuses on workplace courage and improvement-oriented voice (why people speak up or stay silent at work). In addition, Jim’s research  ethical decision-making and behavior, and other leadership-related topics. Furthermore, this research and his consulting experiences have been conducted across a variety of global high-technology as well as service-oriented industries and public sector institutions, including K-12 education.

In fact, his research has appeared across many outlets, including Harvard Business Review, Academy of Management Journal and Administrative Science Quarterly. Other outlets include the Academy of Management Review, Journal of Applied Psychology, and many more. Notably, Detert’s research has won several academic best paper awards. Apart from his academic awards and achievements, Dr. Jim Detert is also regularly featured in various online and print media outlets.

Articles and resources on voice and courage by Dr. James Detert

Detert, J.R., & Burris, E.R. 2016. Can your employees really speak freely? Harvard Business Review, January-February: 80-87.

Detert, J.R., Burris, E.R., Harrison, D., & Martin, S. 2013. Voice flows to and around leaders: Is more always better for unit performance? Administrative Science Quarterly, 58(4): 624-668.

McClean, E., Burris, E.R., & Detert, J.R. 2013. When does voice lead to exit? It depends on leadership. Academy of Management Journal, 56(2): 525-548.

Burris, E.R., Detert, J.R., & Romney, A. 2013. Speaking up versus being heard: The disagreement around and outcomes of employee voice. Organization Science, 24(1): 22-38.

Detert, J.R.& Edmondson, A.C. 2011. Implicit voice theories: An emerging understanding of self-censorship at work. Academy of Management Journal, 54(3): 461 – 488. (Recognitions:  Academy of Management Journal Best Article in 2011 Award, Academy of Management Organizational Behavior Division Outstanding Publication Award for the Best Paper Published in 2011)

To contact Dr. James Detert visit https://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty-research/directory/james-r-detert

Listen to us on


Certified in Leadership Development