Sensitivity Training: Meaning and Significance

A corporation with several heterogeneous people with different types of involvement may face several disagreements and confrontations. Also, corporate employees from the different socio-cultural backgrounds, may come up with different cultural, social, and religious issues. For a corporation to gain heights in its field, it must learn to implement a sense of respect and coordination among its workers. For the constructive growth of the organization, the workers must be trained to work in harmony and with a good team spirit. But how it could be done? To rescue such situation, sensitivity training comes into picture.

What is the Meaning of Sensitifity Training?

Making the people of the corporation understand their frame of mind and role of themself and progress in their workability in the company's welfare. It is about making people reasonably understand themselves and others, which is done by developing social sensitivity and behavioral flexibility. Social sensitivity, in one word, is empathy. An individual can sense what others feel and think from their point of view. Behavioral flexibility is the ability to behave suitably in light of understanding.

Step to Social Mastery

It is a type of education that aims to make people know their goals and diversities, which is more responsive to others and the dynamics of group interactions. It is a type of approach which takes the help of various group activities for interconnection among the people that promotes responsiveness and own realization of the diversities. Mostly it is an informal interaction between people with differences. Sensitivity education is a continuous attempt to improve work culture and ethics for the organization's productivity.


Make sure that workers respect each other. Having a feeling of fellowship and togetherness between the people is a must. They must refrain from making false assumptions about each other that keep them from being friendly. Respecting everyone's role in a corporation is important. Increasing the learning ways among the employees. Providing the employee with the resources will motivate them to better productivity. Promote frequent interaction with every member of the organization. Openness in thinking will create a friendly environment. There should be unsecured discussions, including the seniors of the corporation, without any complex seniority issues.


To make people understand the importance of their roles and emotional and social skill in her job. To boost the person's will to achieve social skills. To encourage the understanding of core values and priorities. Capability to deal will emotional and social situations. To develop skills to connect to several people. Also, to realize their potential using various social and emotional means.


Sensitivity training in a corporation will affect the employee's attitude, ultimately resulting in the company's overall progress. The worker will be more open-minded and respect others and their heterogeneity. Getting familiarized with their workers will make a trust full culture and environment in the organization. Such education will create an unbiased workroom in the company that will help for unbiased judgment for the managers. The senior appointments of the corporation will easily be able to convey the message and instruction under their chain of command. Hence better conveying of instructions and messages will help the workers in better quality output. There will be lesser prejudice within the firm and an unbiased system of promotion and treatment of others. These education sessions will help recognize the person's capability individually and collectively.


It increases the problem-solving ability of the person individually and collectively. The education program may help in building assurance between the people, which can lead to friendships. It improves the clarity and openness of a corporation that respects the opinion of each one of its employees. Sensitivity education builds the mental, social and emotional aspects of their minds and encourages positivity in people. It boosts the complete work ethic and works culture of a particular organization. Improves the sense of responsibility of both employees and employers. Promotes working in a team and individual contribution. Makes people understand the roles of both the boss and the worker; hence the management of workload can be sorted.


It is an unofficial way of education that can lead to indifference between a professional head and a casual intern. It is more oriented toward the practical and hopeful aspect rather than the actual and practical one. Initially, education needs to be more organized and clear. Adhering to this training, sometimes people may focus more on the social side, failing in their objective due to a lack of professionalism. It takes time for the person to open up and displease their superiors or friends. People may take it as influential at times, resulting in two ways in relationships between the people in an organization.


J.L. Moreno developed "psychodrama," a predecessor of the group encounter (and sensitivity-training) movement, in 1914. Later, Kurt Lewin, a gestalt psychologist from Central Europe, is credited with organizing and directing the first T-group (training group) in 1946. In New Britain, Connecticut, Lewin taught a summer program on human interactions. The T-group was founded by chance when workshop attendees were invited to join a staff planning meeting and provide comments. The findings were useful in understanding individual and group behavior.

Based on this accomplishment, in 1947, Lewin and colleagues Ronald Lippitt, Leland Bradford, and Kenneth D. Benne established the National Training Laboratories in Bethel, Maine, and termed the new technique sensitivity training. During the 1940s and early 1950s, most sensitivity training at the National Training Laboratories (NTL) was based on Lewin's T-group paradigm. This first group concentrated on how people interact when they form a group. The fundamental objective of the NTL founders was to aid in understanding group processes and use the emerging subject of group dynamics to teach people how to perform better within groups. The NTL provided a way for people to remove themselves from their daily lives and spend two to three weeks undergoing training, minimizing the chances that they would immediately fall back into old habits before the training truly had time to benefit its students. The NTL and other sensitivity-training programs were new and experimental at the time. NTL eventually evolved into a nonprofit organization with headquarters in Washington, D.C., and a global network of several hundred professionals, most of whom work in universities.

Sensitivity training established itself during the mid-1950s and early 1960s, and the diverse training approaches were somewhat homogenized. The T-group was deeply embedded in the training process, known as encounter groups, human relations training, or study groups.

However, during this time, the sensitivity training approach evolved from social psychology to clinical psychology. Training began to focus on the interpersonal connection between individuals rather than the organizational and community creation process. As a result, it took on a more therapeutic aspect. By the late 1950s, two separate factions had emerged: those emphasizing organizational skills and human growth. Businesses viewed the latter with greater skepticism, at least in earnings, because it represented a major investment in an individual without necessarily aiming for the organization's good. Thus, trainers who focused on vocational and organizational skills were more likely to be sought after by businesses; sensitivity trainers who focused on personal growth were sought after by individuals seeking more meaningful and enriched lives.

New people and organizations joined the movement in the 1960s, bringing substantial change and development. The sensitivity-training movement had come as more than merely a human relations study, but a cultural force, thanks partly to 1960s society's embracing qualities. This social phenomenon was able to satisfy the unmet demands of many people in society, and as a result, it acquired traction as a social movement. However, the divide between methods persisted throughout the 1960s, when the organizational approach to sensitivity training remained focused on the demands of corporate people.

The late 1960s and early 1970s saw a reduction in the use of sensitivity training and encounters, which had been changed from goals in themselves into standard therapeutic and training procedures, or had been phased out. Though not on the scale seen in the 1960s, sensitivity-training programs are nevertheless employed by organizations and agencies trying to help individuals of diverse communities and workforces live and connect.


Sensitivity training helps to catalyze the employees' relationships to benefit the corporation's productivity by providing a cool and open-minded space for the people. Self-improvement classes and behavior management lessons help them to stay positive and work in harmony in the company. When applied correctly, this kind of training will limit the number of issues faced by the people within cooperation, creating a lively environment as their work culture. Right communication at the senior and junior levels will help provide instructional and professional clarity at the two ends.

Updated on: 09-Jan-2023


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