Making Working Relationships Work: The TRIPS toolkit for handling relationship challenges and promoting rapport, Castledown. May 2024
Effective relationship management at work is crucial for business/organisational success – it affects employee performance and wellbeing, as well as the recruitment and retention of talent. Yet relationship management is demanding to handle well. Professionals face a large number of challenges in the workplace that are relationship-related, ranging from upsetting or annoying incidents, to loneliness and exclusion, problems of criticism and opposition, and unhealthy cultural atmospheres with inadequate psychological safety.

This book provides a powerful set of tools and concepts for leaders, managers, and employees of all levels to deal with relationship challenges at work with greater success. It does not offer simplistic tips or easy fixes. Rather, it helps people address the challenges for themselves – to ‘read’ the context so that they can identify the factors giving rise to the people problems or risks they are facing. Then they will be able to select the most suitable strategies for overcoming the challenges.

Part 1 introduces the issues at stake and the main factors affecting rapport at work.

Part 2 deals with key relationship challenges at work (e.g. discord and disagreement, exclusion, uncooperative colleagues, difficult bosses, problematic employees) and presents a suite of tools for addressing them. The tools are all underpinned by an empirically robust conceptual framework – the TRIPS rapport management framework

Part 3 explains the TRIPS conceptual framework in more detail, drawing particularly on psychological and pragmatic theories and findings on relationship management. TRIPS is an acronym for the key factors that need to be taken into account when managing rapport: the Triggers (6 key things people value in working relationships) that give rise to rapport Reactions (e.g. annoyance, upset) if not handled well during the Interactions (what is said and done), all of which are influenced by the People involved and by their situational contexts, Settings.

Part 4 provides templates for the tools, TRIPS concepts and strategies that readers can use and apply in their own contexts.

Authentic case studies are used throughout the book and are complemented by a range of activities.

The book will be valuable to a wide audience:

  • Professionals wanting to improve their own relationship building capabilities
  • Learning and Development and HR practitioners who want to develop collaborative, inclusive workplaces by helping leaders and colleagues with their relationship building skills
  • Consultants who provide support in this area and would like a clear and robust framework for designing their development initiatives, along with case study examples and follow-up activities;
  • Students and scholars in the fields of pragmatics, politeness and rapport theory, and positive communication who would value the latest conceptual thinking in the field and handy access to key concepts.


See a sample here: Contents and Chapter 1

15% Discount code for use on the publisher’s website: 74ZAB99C (valid until 30 June 2024)

Learn more about working relationships in your organisation – use our Relationship Management Profiler (RELMAP)

Global Fitness for Global People: How to Manage and Leverage Cultural Diversity at Work, Castledown.
This book is for all those living and working in situations influenced by diversity – where there are differences, for example, in styles of communication, preferred ways of doing things, senses of social identity, attitudes and beliefs. For some people, such differences are interesting and exciting. For many they are also challenging and can even lead to negative experiences such as exclusion, anxiety, unsatisfying relationships, and weak performance at work.

If you experience any kind of diversity in your working life and want to handle it with greater understanding, pleasure and success, Global Fitness for Global People is for you. It will take you on a professional development journey that will enable you to:

  • Communicate more effectively
  • Build stronger global relationships
  • Collaborate and succeed in global teams
  • Exercise global leadership in contexts of diversity
  • Handle ethical challenges, maintaining integrity
  • Mould the organisational environment to enhance well-being and promote learning

The book is packed full of case studies, stories, reflection activities, explanations, and key takeaways, giving you the tools, skills and understanding to manage and leverage cultural diversity at work with success.

Take a look inside (more pages available than on Amazon)

Listen to Helen explaining how to learn from case studies and stories, such as those in the book. It’s a podcast by Joanna Sells


Available from most bookstores.

Discounts available on bulk orders from the publisher, Castledown.

Intercultural Politeness: Managing Relations across Cultures, Cambridge University Press.

It is increasingly important in our globalised world for people to successfully manage interpersonal relationships. This is the first book to tackle this vital topic from an interdisciplinary perspective. Drawing together key concepts from politeness theory, intercultural communication, and cross-cultural/intercultural psychology, it provides a robust framework for analysing and understanding intercultural encounters.

Paperback version is now available.
CUP are currently offering a discount. Visit
and enter the code LING2723 at the checkout

Developing Global Leaders: Insights from African Case Studies, Palgrave.

A timely guide on what constitutes effective leadership in Africa. It explores how today’s leaders in Africa perceive their role, the challenges they experience, and how they operate effectively as leaders. Drawing on case study and survey data, this book illustrates to scholars and leaders worldwide the vision of leadership that is emerging in Africa.

The Mindful International Manager, KoganPage

Tackling the management situations that international managers have to handle every day. Accessible and jargon-free it explains how to clarify local vs. international roles, support and develop a team, organize and coordinate boundaries of time and distance, and win commitment toward common goals. The authors, both interculturalists, include exercises and best practice advice and the experiences and insights of practising international managers. They combine their practical approach with great depth of insight into the challenges of working and managing internationally and include the results of new research findings and cutting-edge case studies on topics such as leadership, global nomads, virtual teams, coaching and mentoring across cultures and decision-making.

Intercultural Management, MacMillan IHE

This ground breaking textbook looks at the issue of managing across cultures: the difficulties and opportunities it brings and the competencies needed to handle situation and create solutions. Applying a constructive approach, Intercultural Management demonstrates how cultural diversity can be used as a resource to generate synergy and complementarity. It is valuable reading for individuals and organisations seeking to improve their intercultural management strategies.

Intercultural Interaction: A Multidisciplinary Approach to Intercultural Communication, Palgrave

Provides rapid and authoritative access to current ideas and practice in intercultural communication. Drawing on concepts and findings from a range of different disciplines and using authentic examples of intercultural interaction to illustrate points, it offers a wealth of insights into the process.

Culturally Speaking: Culture, Communication & Politeness Theory (2nd ed), Bloomsbury.

A very popular and accessible introduction to key issues in culture and communication, interspersing insightful studies of intercultural interaction with explanatory chapters that explain the underlying concepts and frameworks.