A climate of psychological safety enhances the success of front end teams

Ann-Marie Nienaber, V. Holtorf, J. Leker, G. Schewe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)
134 Downloads (Pure)


This paper contributes to the discussion about initiative in teams at the front end of new product development processes (innovative teams). In contrast to the general opinion presented in the literature, this study points out that unstructured innovative teams are as much initiative in developing new ideas or in finding quick solutions when compared to structured innovative teams. Therefore we analyse the relationship between teamwork quality and team initiative in structured and unstructured teams at the front end of a new product development process and, in particular, we focus on a climate of psychological safety. To examine this relationship, data were collected by surveying 100 team members from different departments in a multinational company. It has been pointed out in the literature previously that where a team leader provides little structure at the micro level for team members there is a negative effect on the displays of initiative in the very early stages of the innovation process. However we can demonstrate that this effect can be reduced by a climate of psychological safety. Thus, it can be stated that unstructured teamwork combined with a climate of psychological safety is the way for teams at the front end of a new product development process to be successful.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1550027
JournalInternational Journal of Innovation Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015


Bibliographical note

Electronic version of an article published as International Journal of Innovation Management, Vol 19 (2), article no. 1550027. DOI: 10.1142/S1363919615500279 © copyright World Scientific Publishing Company www.worldscientific.com/worldscinet/ijim .


  • climate of psychological safety
  • front end
  • initiative
  • Innovative team
  • team quality

Cite this