Discuss Identity Threat

First, review the transcript from Professor Nishii’s video (below) on the subject of identity threat.

“So I’ve talked a little bit about trust. But I also want to talk briefly about this notion of identity threat.When people experience a threat to their identity in some way, then they don’t experience full psychological safety.That means that there are obstacles to engagement in their work environment.So, let me give you an example of that.I have a friend who works in a department where she’s the only woman and she often struggles with things like, feeling like people turn to her to describe the woman’s perspective.That is to represent all women.Or when her coworkers automatically assume that she might not be interested in joining their guy conversations or their social activities because she would be the only woman.She also feels like her coworkers often talk over her in meetings and discount her contributions, and that she’s not as often considered for leadership roles within her department.All of this makes her feel like she can’t quite be herself.That she’s not fully valued for who she is.And she ends up feeling quite tentative about speaking up when they are all together as a group.And she doesn’t want to create conflict within the group, but she also doesn’t want to be misunderstood.And her solution is to just kind of not deal with it.To avoid it a little bit, withdraw from it.That means she’s not fully engaged.”

After you have reviewed the video, create a post in which you respond to the following:

  • What business problems or deficiencies do you think will result from the identity threat being described? In other words, why do you think it might be advantageous for the company to take steps to address the issue that’s being described?
  • What steps would you recommend that the HR department, in this case, could take to reduce the identity threat described?
  • If you were another member of this team, how could you practice bystander intervention? Describe your ideas.

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