Recipients’ Views on Empathy in Everyday Work Communication—Insights from an Exploratory Interview Study

Research output: Contribution to book/conference proceedings/anthology/reportChapter in book/anthology/reportContributedpeer-review


This study sets out to reveal recipients’ perceptions of empathy in interpersonal communication processes in organisations. Thereby, the goal is to highlight empathy’s relevance for promoting and valuing cooperation and well-being in today’s diverse and rapidly changing work environment. Following an exploratory approach, semi-structured interviews considering 20 everyday work situations were conducted. In order to analyse the interviews, the study applies qualitative content analysis using deductive-inductive category formation. The study identifies seven main categories with underlying statements relevant to empathy recipients. Results show that recipients appreciate the experience of receiving empathy, which leads to an improvement in daily interactions. Likewise, the interviewees outline measures that can be used to help individuals receive empathy. To date, these efforts seem to have been rarely put into practice. However, in-depth knowledge of the recipients’ perspective is essential to get a holistic understanding of empathy and its implications in the professional context. By focusing exclusively on the empathy recipients’ perspective, this study makes an innovative contribution to current research and enriches the picture of empathy perception in the professional context, paving the way for an improvement in interpersonal communication in organisations, while, at the same time, offering valuable solutions for present-day challenges, such as uncertainties due to Covid-19.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSoziale Themen in Unternehmens- und Wirtschaftskommunikation.
EditorsChristopher Schmidt, Sabine Heinemann, Volker Markus Banholzer, Martin Nielsen, Florian Ulrich Siems
Place of PublicationWiesbaden
PublisherSpringer VS. Wiesbaden
ISBN (electronic)978-3-658-40705-6
ISBN (print)978-3-658-40704
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2023

Publication series

SeriesEuropäische Kulturen in der Wirtschaftskommunikation

External IDs

ORCID /0000-0002-8792-5107/work/142234682



  • Workplace Empathy, Empathic Communication, Empathy recipients, Qualitative content analysis, Exploratory interview study