Effects of Powerful and Powerless Speech Styles On Employment Interview Outcomes

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Studies

First Advisor

Susan A. Siltanen

Advisor Department

Communication Studies


This dissertation extended and refined Wiley and Eskilson's (1985) research by examining the effects of powerful/less speech styles on employment interview outcomes. Undergraduate and professional subjects listened to one of eight audiotaped interviews manipulated by speech style, interviewer gender, and interviewee gender. They evaluated the interviewees' dynamism, social attractiveness, competence, and employability on Likert-type scales. Results indicated that a powerful speech style results in positive attributions of competence and employability. However, gender significantly interacted with speech style on attributions of dynamism and social attractiveness. Results also indicated that professional subjects evaluated the speech styles differently than did undergraduates. Moreover, implications for powerful/less speech style research, attribution theory, expectancy theory, and employment interview research are discussed. Several directions for future research are also discussed such as the study of nonverbal channels in combination with speech styles, the study of gender and speech styles in order to clarify their relationship, and the study of speech style effects in informal situations.