Interpersonal Sensitivity: Theory and Measurement

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

interpersonal sensitivity is predictive of effective job performance. For example, we have had considerable success using both self-report measures of interpersonal skill such as the Social Skills Inventory (Riggio, 1989), and self-report measures of empathy such as Davis's (1980, 1994) Interpersonal Reactivity Index, in predicting the performance of high-level managers and hospice workers (Riggio & Cole, 1989; Riggio & Taylor, 1999). Assessment centers for the selection and development of managers and managerial training programs may offer other opportunities for researchers to study the role of interpersonal sensitivity in both personnel selection and leadership. Again, employers are more likely to allow researchers access to workers if it does not detract from work time and if researchers can demonstrate potential benefits for the organization.

In short, the construct of interpersonal sensitivity is important to many facets of work organizations, ranging from leadership to employee selection and development to improving the functioning of work teams and the quality of customer service. It is only a matter of time before the more basic research on defining, refining, and measuring interpersonal sensitivity meets up with and converges with organizational theorists and practitioners who are beginning to recognize the importance of interpersonal sensitivity in the world of work.


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Arvey, R. D., & Campion, J. E. (1982). The employment interview: A summary and review of recent research. Personnel Psychology, 35, 281–322.

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