Purpose: The study aims to examine the influence of soft skill integration on the interpersonal soft skill levels of diploma business students in the private higher education institutions based in the northern region of Peninsular Malaysia.
Research Methods: The study was guided by the Soft Skill Development Model (2006) and the Soft Skill Integration method, according to Devadason, Subramaniam and Daniel (2010). This paper applied a descriptive quantitative survey method to assess the levels and relationships between the variables. A set of self-administered questionnaires were adapted based on Devadason, Subramaniam and Daniel’s (2010) instruments. The questionnaires were distributed through a proportionate stratified ranom sampling method to 429 respondents from 12 private higher learning institutions in three northern states of Peninsular Malaysia. Descriptive analysis, correlation, and regression analyses were applied in the findings.
Findings: The results revealed a significant influence of the overall soft skill integration towards communication and teamwork levels. The study also advocated the significant impact of soft skill integration in problem-solving and critical thinking on all of the four essential soft skills elements.
Implications for Research and Practice: Despite decades of emphasis on soft skill development, soft skill integration in Malaysia is still not at an optimal level. Embedding soft skills would lead to more real-life experiences, and they will horn students' skills, especially their problem-solving ability. The empirical evidence of soft skill integration contributes towards innovative teaching and learning experiences, social innovation, and the impact on school policies to develop what is required in the industry.
Keywords: Interpersonal skills, innovation, embedding, policies