Communication skills training: management manipulation or personal development?

Owen Hargie, Dennis Tourish

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    In a recent edition of Human Relations, Elmes and Costello (1992) reported the results of their observations of a communication skills training (CST) workshop. Their paper examined this approach to training from a dramaturgical perspective and argued that CST could be considered as an inherently manipulative means of strengthening management control within organizations. Given that there has been an explosive growth of interest in CST as a means of furthering personal development, in a variety of professional contexts, the present paper addresses the concerns raised by Elmes and Costello, by examining some of the central issues associated with this approach to training. Research evidence is reviewed which suggests that CST is an effective training medium which can be a positive force for strengthening relationships within the work environment. CST as a means of furthering behavioral change is examine in the light of the Elmes and Costello critique. Finally, the implications of these issues for the management of relationships at work are considered.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1377-1389
    JournalHuman Relations
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1994


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