This article reviews existing approaches to defining and distinguishing communication styles and proposes a common frame of reference for future research. The literature review yields two schools of thought: the behavior-centered perspective and the personality-oriented perspective. Although these lines of research differ in their ways of defining communication styles, they show considerable similarities with respect to their classification. Many researchers build their taxonomies on two key dimensions: assertiveness and responsiveness. We propose embedding communication styles into the Five-Factor Theory (FFT) and defining them as characteristic adaptations of personality. We also suggest the Interpersonal Circumplex (IPC) as a reference model for distinguishing communication styles as it is able to integrate substantial dimensions and facets of existing taxonomies in a parsimonious way.
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