Sensitivity Training definition

A type of emotional training designed to help people become more aware of their intrinsic judgements and prejudices and ultimately more sensitive to the needs of others. The founder of sensitivity training is generally seen as German-American psychologist Kurt Lewin, who developed a series of change experiments for the Connecticut State Interracial Commission in 1946.

There are a variety of methods and programmes used within sensitivity training, including T-group and encounter group. Sensitivity training is derived from group psychotherapy and, like psychotherapy, is designed to facilitate maximum sharing and interaction between participants.

Sensitivity training is considered beneficial to organisations because it encourages the development or more close-knit and efficient teams. Since sensitivity training is often introduced following a discriminatory incident, it can also help reduce the negative effects of these incidents and encourage a positive outcome from a negative event.

Some critics of sensitivity training say its techniques are not dissimilar from brainwashing.


Get the latest from HRZone.

Subscribe to expert insights on how to create a better workplace for both your business and its people.


Thank you.