readily overpowered by negative intergroup interactions. Thus the top priority for managers faced
with intergroup conflict is to identify and root out specific negative linkages between or among
groups. More specifically, focusing on the perceived security and quality of the interactions
matters. If you and/or your managers can make the out-group feel there is nothing at stake (they
are not being evaluated), they are more likely to feel secure and satisfied with the interaction.
This reassurance can also reduce both groups’ prejudices about the other. We can achieve such
benefits by sharing social interests or social events where the focus is not on work, particularly
the out-group’s work
Several actions are recommended:
Eliminate specific negative interactions (obvious enough).
Conduct team building to reduce intra-group conflict and prepare for cross-functional
Encourage and facilitate friendships via social events (happy hours, sports leagues, and
Foster positive attitudes (empathy and compassion).
Avoid or neutralize negative gossip.
Practice the above—be a role model
Creating a Psychologically Safe Climate
climate represents a shared belief among team members that it is safe to
engage in risky behaviors, such as questioning current practices without retribution or negative
consequences. When employees feel psychologically safe, they are more likely to speak up and
present their ideas and less likely to take disagreements personally. This interaction results in
increased team creativity, less conflict within and between teams, and higher individual and team
performance. Psychological safety climates also help improve employee turnover, safe work
behaviors, and job satisfaction
How can you and your employers create or foster a climate for psychological safety? Here are
three fundamental and widely applicable practices:
Ensure leaders are inclusive and accessible.
Hire and develop employees who are comfortable expressing their own ideas, and
receptive and constructive to those expressed by others.