The Queensland membership of the Australian Institute of Training and Development (AITD) was invited to participate in a field study about perceptions of trainer effectiveness and trainer power 1n a workshop context. Some 57 trainers and their 603 participants were involved in a study of 36 discrete workshop events. The researcher designed, piloted and administered two field survey instruments, one for trainers and another for participants. The major results were as follows. Firstly, expert and information power bases were the ones most likely to be exercised by trainers during a workshop. Secondly, Effectiveness not Power was the most significant semantic dimension when trainers were described or described themselves at workshops. Thirdly, participants regarded their trainers to be more influential as workshop leaders than did trainers themselves. Fourthly, trainer enjoyment and participant perceived learning were the strongest predictors of workshop effectiveness. Fifthly, male trainers were regarded by participants as exercising more power than female trainers. Sixthly, trainer-directed processes at workshops contributed more to perceptions of trainer power than did participant-directed processes. Seventhly, older, longer-tenured participants generally attributed more influence to their trainer than did their younger, junior counterparts.
In this study, power had mainly negative connotations: it was about control versus another or control over another. The positive face of power did not emerge in either participant attributions or trainer self-perceptions.