Soft skills get no respect. Why? Because it’s difficult to quantify.
Soft skill research historically hasn’t been as respected because much if it was based on qualitative research and qualitative research has a bad rap because we’re so steeped in a “positivist paradigm” – we only value quantitative research.
The big shift didn’t come until the Post Modern movement when physics discovered that light could be perceived as a particle or wave. For the first time then, something could be relative and beyond cause and effect, black and white. Researchers began to understand that the old theory that you could study something as a detached scientist is false. In fact, the scientist affects that which she studies and vice versa. So quantitative research can have all the same issues as qualitative research.
Which leads me to “work-force science” – the new trend to quantify human potential. It will have as many problems as qualitative research, I’m sure.
But in the end, there is this: soft skills matter.