We are working with researchers at the University of Surrey to help provide scientific research to support the NLP field.

The Team at Surrey university, headed by Dr Paul Tosey, held its first syposium in June 2006 and has developed a website with information on NLP research www.nlpresearch.org .

Results from the first project - a study of business use of NLP which supports NLP training as a potential source of competitive advantage follows in the researcher, Curtis Ponting's, own words.

A second project is underway by Dr Tosey with current NLP Practitioner trainees. Further details will also be published here.

 

Research supports NLP training to be a potential source of competitive advantage

 

Research that I conducted at the University of Surrey as part of my MBA dissertation appears to support the view that NLP training may provide a means for businesses to gain competitive advantage.

 

In my research, NLP trained individuals who use NLP in a business context were asked whether their NLP training had improved their in-role performance. Almost all the respondents believed that this was the case.

 

This finding is consistent with Bandura’s self-efficacy theory, which suggests that if an individual perceives an improvement in their in-role performance this is highly likely to be reflected in their actual performance. This therefore suggests that NLP training is an effective means for businesses to improve employee performance. This may help to explain why a growing number of companies appear to be investing in NLP training for their staff, as improving performance potentially enhances competitive advantage.

 

In fact one of my main motivations for conducting the research was the observation that businesses and individuals were investing in NLP training but that this did not appear to be acknowledged in the academic literature and research generated by business schools. I am of the view that in order to be of value business schools must be appreciative of actual business practice. It appeared to me that NLP was clearly an area where this was not the case. I therefore decided to conduct an exploratory study into the use of NLP in business in an attempt to play some part in bridging the gap between the academic world and the business world.

 

My starting point was to review the literature relating to the use of NLP in business. Although as expected there are a large number of books and magazine articles on the subject the lack of literature generated by the academic community was very apparent. In fact it appeared that no other such review of literature on the use of NLP had been conducted in an academic setting, therefore my work was considered to be original.

 

Using findings from the literature review and background interviews with some NLP practitioners, I produced a questionnaire which I distributed to 47 volunteers who had been recruited by PPD Learning as being NLP trained practitioners who use NLP in a business setting. My analysis was based on 21 returns.

 

As well as the finding about self-efficacy, other points of interest are as follows:

 

1)     Although NLP trained individuals work in a great variety of professions there were some notable patterns. When asked to describe their profession 24% mentioned coach, 24% mentioned consultant, and 19% mentioned trainer . This would tend to support the view that there is growing interest in coaching and the use of NLP techniques within the profession.

 

2)     The respondents were asked which techniques or models they most commonly used in a business context. A strong pattern emerged with 38% identifying perceptual positions.

 

3)     Interestingly 43% of respondents said that they had experienced barriers to using NLP in a business context with a third of these citing the fact that NLP is sometimes viewed as being manipulative. Where barriers had been encountered, 56% of the respondents said that they sought to overcome them by explaining NLP whereas the remainder avoided using the term NLP. Additionally, a third of those who had encountered barriers thought that research into NLP would help to overcome the barriers. 

 

I should point out that, as may be apparent, I am not personally a trained NLP practitioner. Whilst this undoubtedly made understanding and appreciating NLP and its terminology a challenge, it did mean that I was in a position to conduct my research without bias and therefore maintain my objectivity. Having now completed my MBA, I am looking forward to training as an NLP practitioner, hopefully sometime in the near future.

 

I would like to thank my dissertation supervisor, Dr Paul Tosey, and PPD Learning for all their help with this study in addition to everyone who took the time to complete the questionnaire.

 

Curtis Ponting BSc(HONS) MBA FCA MCMI

csponting@aol.com

Tel. +44 1483 740296

 


[1] It should be noted that there was the possibility of overlap between categories, e.g. an individual may have described themselves as a coach and trainer. In this case they would have been included in both categories.


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All of this would not have been possible without you as our course leader. You have a real gift when it comes to teaching and coaching and I am proud to have been one of your students.

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