Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton March 9, 2011

Towards an integrative approach to communication styles: The Interpersonal Circumplex and the Five-Factor Theory of personality as frames of reference

  • Annie Waldherr EMAIL logo and Peter M. Muck
From the journal Communications


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.

Published Online: 2011-03-09
Published in Print: 2011-March

© 2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/New York

Downloaded on 22.2.2024 from
Scroll to top button