Interpersonal Sensitivity: Theory and Measurement

By Judith A. Hall; Frank J. Bernieri | Go to book overview

15
Interpersonal
Sensitivity Research
and Organizational Psychology:
Theoretical and Methodological
Applications
Ronald E. Riggio
Claremont McKenna College

Although there has been relatively little research directly examining the role of interpersonal sensitivity in organizational settings, the construct has important implications for the effective functioning of work groups and organizations. For example, being an effective workplace manager or leader requires sensitivity to followers and to others in the organization. Recruiting, screening, selection, and placement of employees also involve accurate perceptions of others' skills, abilities, experiences, career interests and aptitudes, and work-related personality dimensions if human resources professionals are to create a highly productive workforce. Interpersonal sensitivity is critical to the development of highly functioning work teams. In addition, successful salespersons and service industry personnel need to be responsive to customer needs and establish good relationships with them. Interpersonal sensitivity, like interpersonal communication in general, plays a key role in work organizations.

Even a cursory review of some of the hot topics in industrial-organizational (I/O) psychology and organizational behavior can provide insight into the role that interpersonal sensitivity plays in the workplace. For example, the explosion of interest in the construct of emotional intelligence has spread to the workplace, as evidenced by the popularity of recent books such as Goleman's (1998)

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