Psychological safety has been shown to be a consistent, generalizable, and multilevel predictor of outcomes in performance and learning across fields. While work in this field has suggested that psychological safety can impact the creative process, particularly in the generation of ideas and in the discussions surrounding idea development, there has been limited investigations of psychological safety in the engineering domain. Without this knowledge we do not know when fostering psychological safety in a team environment is most important. This study provides the first attempt at answering this question through an empirical study with 53 engineering design student teams over the course of a 4- and 8-week design project. Specifically, we sought to identify the role of psychological safety on the number and quality (judged by goodness) of ideas generated. In addition, we explored the role of psychological safety on ownership bias and goodness in the concept screening process. The results of the study identified that while psychological safety was not related to the number of ideas a team developed, it was positively related to the quality (goodness) of the ideas developed. In addition, while no relationship was found between psychological safety and ownership bias during concept screening, the results showed that teams with high psychological safety selected a higher percentage of their team members ideas.

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