interpersonal skills, social skills, communication, meta-analysis, training
Despite extensive statements about the importance of possessing good interpersonal skills, little quantitative evidence has been brought forth to investigate these claims. At the same time, training in soft, or interpersonal, skills continues for organizational managers, customer service representatives, and members of formal work teams. Based on these considerations, the current research was guided by five broad questions. First, are gender and the Big Five personality variables important predictors in the use and effectiveness of interpersonal skills? Second, what is the relationship between various interpersonal skills and important personal and workplace outcomes? Third, given that training in interpersonal skills is prevalent in organizations today, does this training work? Further, and perhaps more importantly, under what conditions do these training interventions result in optimal outcomes? Lastly, does job complexity moderate the relationship between interpersonal skills and outcomes? To answer these questions, a series of meta-analytic investigations was conducted. The results of these analyses provided evidence for the existence of meaningful antecedents of interpersonal skills. In addition, relationships between interpersonal skills and outcomes were identified, with hypotheses in this area confirmed. The results of this research demonstrate the beneficial impact of interpersonal skills training for improving interpersonal skills. Finally, in line with predictions, job complexity was identified as a moderator of the relationship between interpersonal skills and outcomes. The current document concludes with recommendations both for researchers interested in furthering the science of interpersonal skills research, and for practitioners charged with improving the interpersonal skills of their workforce.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Klein, Cameron, "What Do We Know About Interpersonal Skills? A Meta-analytic Examination Of Antecedents, Outcomes, And The Efficacy Of Training" (2009). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 3950.