Date of Award


Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)



First Advisor

Glenn E. Tagatz

Second Advisor

Robert B. Nordberg

Third Advisor

Nick J. Topetz


The purposes of this research paper are:

1. To examine the what, how, and why of sensitivity training. What it is; how it has developed into the multiple and varied forms it has today; why psychologists call it "the most rapidly spreading and potent social invention of this century."2

2. To outline the varied forms and the wide diversity of emphases into which sensitivity training has expanded. One leading social educator has written: "Sensitivity training is like an umbrella; so many different kinds of philosophies, practices and arrangements are subsumed under the term that one cannot be 'for it or agin it.'"3

3. To note the positive worth of sensitivity training in its various forms toward effecting personal growth and the development and improvement of interpersonal communication and interpersonal relationships, in promoting group interaction and in developing organizational efficiency.

4. To cite examples of negative reactions to sensitivity training and negative aspects that are becoming part of the movement.

5. To give a personal critical evaluation of sensitivity training based on:

a. Readings from the works of important originators and developers of sensitivity training and its varied forms.

b. Interviews with a psychologist and participants who have engaged in sensitivity sessions.

c. A knowledge of Christian humanism or existentialism--the Christian outlook on living in the reality of the present moment.

It is hoped that this study will give an unbiased view of sensitivity training--one that indicates that sensitivity training in a selective sense has promise for progress in the fields of sociology, business, industry and education; but that it does present problems also. Only wise and judicious use of this approach will help the problems wane and the promises become clear.