Organizational listening: a conceptual proposal

Keywords: organizational listening, strategic communication, dialogue, organizational communication, public, intangible asset, feedback, communication strategy


This research presents listening as a communication element that must be managed in organizations that face a constantly changing society, and in which it is important to know the opinion of the public that interacts with it. When understood as an intangible asset, listening adds to others of its kind that become relevant today in institutions, such as reputation, image, identity, corporate responsibility, among others. This study aims to show what are the most relevant features and elements of organizational listening to date. The research was carried out through an analysis that draws from the theory, and that reviews the main contributions from the communication field. As a subject matter, the act of listening does not have a broad body of research to support itself, but it is in development. However, its importance is indirectly inferred from the background analysis in some academic fields. For the purposes of this study, approaches made from strategic communication, public relations, relational marketing and organizational communication are reviewed.

On the basis of a theoretical analysis, this research on listening proposes a definition of organizational listening and its most relevant elements as a contribution to the field of communication: Listening belongs to a continuous and systematic process in organizations that requires different instruments to be carried out, which is aimed at knowing the different audiences with which the institution is related, and that should be established as an important factor to be considered so that institutions are sustainable over time.

  • References

    Allio, M. (2008). Strategic databanks: Design for success. Journal of Business Strategy, 29(1), 13-24.

    Argenti, P., Howell, R. y Beck, K. (2005). The strategic communication imperative. MIT Sloan Management Review, 46(3), 83.

    Argenti, P. (2014). Comunicación estratégica y su contribución a la reputación. Madrid: LID Editorial Empresarial.

    Astudillo, W. y Mendinueta, C. (2005). ¿ Cómo mejorar la comunicación en la fase terminal? Ars Médica, Revista de Ciencias Médicas, 34(2), 61-85.

    Ballantyne, D. y Varey, R. J. (2008). The service-dominant logic and the future of marketing. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 36(1), 11-14.

    Bourne, L. y Walker, D. (2005). Visualising and mapping stakeholder influence. Management Decision, 4, 649-660.

    Botan, C. y Hazleton, V. (2010). Public relations theory II. Londres: Routledge.

    Botan, C. y Taylor, M. (2004). Publics relations: State of the field. Journal of Communication, 54(4), 645–661.

    Brunner, B. (2008). Listening, Communication y Trust: Practitioners´Perspectives of Business/Organizational Relationships. International Journal of Listening, 22, 73-82.

    Bruning, S. D. y Ledingham, J. A. (1998). Relationships between organizations and publics: Development of a multi-dimensional organization-public relationship scale. Public relations review, 25(2), 157-170.

    Burnside, J. (2011). The dark side of stakeholder communication: Stakeholder perceptions of ineffective organisational listening. Australian Journal of Communication, 38(1), 121–147.

    Burnside, J. (2012). Listening and participatory communication: A model to assess organization listening competency. International Journal of Listening, 26(2), 102-121.

    Capriotti, P. (2007). El concepto de relación como fundamento de la naturaleza de los públicos en relaciones públicas. Sphera Pública, (7), 65-80. Recuperado de

    Caywood, C. (2012). The stakeholder concept. In Strategic Public Relations and Integrated Marketing Communication. Nueva York: McGraw Hill.

    Cornelissen, J., Durand, R., Fiss, P., Lammers, J. y Vaara, E. (2015). Putting communication front and center in institutional theory and analysis. Academy of Management Review, 40, 1, 10–27.

    Cornelissen, J. (2011). Corporate Communication. A guide to theory and Practice (3a Ed. ). Londres: SAGE Publications Ltd.

    Cooper, L.(1997). Listening competency in the workplace: a model for training. Business Communication Quarterly, 60(4), 75-84.

    Cumming, J. (2001). Engaging stakeholders in corporate accountability programmes: a cross-sectoral analysis of UK and transnational experience. Business Ethics: A European Review, 10(1), 45–52.

    Dolphin, R y Fan, Y. (2000).Is corporate communications a strategic function? Management Decision, 38(2), 99–107.

    Falkheimer, J. y Heide, M. (2018). Strategic Communication: An Introduction. S. l.: Amazon.

    Freeman, R. E. (1984). Strategic Management: A Stakeholder Approach. Boston: Pitman Publishing Inc.

    Flynn, J., Valikoski, T. y Grau, J. (2008). Listening in the Business Context: Reviewing the State of Research. International Journal of Listening, 22(2), 141–151.

    Floyd, J. J (1985). Listening: A Practical Approach. Glenview:Scott Foresman.

    Finne, A y Grönroos, C. (2017). Communication-in-use: customer-integrated marketing communication. European Journal of Marketing, 51(3), 445–463. EJM-08-2015-0553

    Gao, S. y Zhang, J. (2006). Stakeholder engagement, social auditing and corporate sustainability. Business Process Management Journal, 12(6), 722-740.

    Glenn, E.(2009). A Content Analysis of Fifty Definitions of Listening. International Listening Association Journal, 3(1), 21–31.

    Grönroos, C. y Gummerus, J. (2014). The service revolution and its marketing implications: service logic vs. service-dominant logic. Managing Service Quality, 24(3), 206-229.

    Grunig, J. E., & Hunt, T. T. (1984). Managing Public Relations CL. J. E. Grunig, & T. Hunt, Managing Public Relations CL. Cengage Learning.

    Grunig, J. y Hunt, T. (1984). Managing Public Relations CL. Nueva York: Holt McDougal

    Gutiérrez, E. (2012). Principios de profesionalización para la gestión comunicativa de instituciones. Bases para un nuevo modlo. En E. Peña, P. Pacheco y M. Martínez (Eds.), Comunicación institucional y política (pp. 377–392). Madrid: Fragua.

    Gutiérrez, E. (2010). ¿Gobierno corporativo y comunicación empresarial. ¿Qué papel cumplen los directores de comunicación en España? Palabra Clave, 13(1), 147–160.

    Heywood, C. y Smith, J. (2006). Integrating stakeholders during community FM’s early project phases. Facilities, 24, 300-313.

    Heath, R. et al. (2006). The process of dialogue. Management Communication Quartely, 19(3), 341–375.

    Heath, R. y Coombs, W. (2006). Today’s public relations : an introduction. Nueva York: Sage Publications.

    Imhof, M., Välikoski, T., Laukkanen, A. y Orlob, K. (2014). Cognition and interpersonal communication: The effect of voice quality on information processing and person perception. Studies in Communication Sciences, 14(1), 37-44.

    Jakson, K. (2010). Engagement of Organizational Stakeholders in the Process of Formulating Values Statements. Atlantic Journal of Communication, 18, 158–176.

    Kujala, J., Lehtimäki, H. y Myllykangas, P. (2017). Value Co-creation in Stakeholder Relationships: A Case Study. In Stakeholder Engagement: Clinical Research Cases, 46, 15-30.

    Ledingham, J. y Bruning, S. (1998). Relationship management in public relations: Dimensions of an organization- public relationship. Public Relations Review, 24, 55–65.

    Lewis, L., Hamel, S. y Richardson, B. (2001). Communicating change to nonprofit stakeholders: Models and predictors of implementers’ approach. Management Communication Quarterly, 15(1), 5–41.

    Lindberg, Ki y Grönroos, C. (2004). Conceptualising communications strategy from a relational perspective. Industrial Marketing Management, 33, 229–239.

    Llano, A. (1988). La nueva sensibilidad. Madrid: Universidad de Madrid.

    Kent, M. y Taylor, M. (2002). Toward a dialogic theory of public relations. Public Relations Review, 28(1), 21–37.

    Kelly, C.M. (1975). Empathetic listening. En R.L. Applbahum, O.O. Jenson y R. Carroll (Eds.), Speech Communication: A basic Anthology. Nueva York: MacMillan.

    Maben, S., y Gearhart, C. (2017). Organizational Social Media Accounts: Moving Toward Listening Competency. International Journal of Listening, 32(2), 1–14.

    Macnamara, J. (2014). Organisational listening: A vital missing element in public communication and the public sphere. Asia Pacific Public Retiones Journal, 15(1), 89–108. Recuperado de

    Macnamara, J. (2016). Organizational listening. The Missing Essential in Public Communication. Nueva York: Peter Lang Publishing.

    Macnamara, J. (2017). Toward a Theory and Practice of Organizational Listening. International Journal of Listening, 32(1), 1–23.

    Palmatiere, R. (2008). Relationship Marketing. Cambridge: Marketing Science Institute.

    Pearson, R. (1989). Business ethics as communication ethics: Public relations practice and the idea of dialogue. Public relations theory, 27(2), 111-131.

    Pérez, R. (2013). ¿Es su estrategia la misma que la mía? De cómo la NTE convierte a la estrategia en una disciplina para la articulación social. Razón y Palabra, (86), 26-59.

    Rindova, V. y Fombrun, C. (1999) Constructing competitive advantage: The role of firm-constituent interaction. Strategic Management Journal, 20(8), 691–710.

    Rogers, C. y Roethlisberger. F.J. (1952). Barriers and Gateways. Harvard Business Review. Recuperado de:

    Johansen, T. y Nielsen, A. (2011). Strategic stakeholder dialogues: a discursive perspective on relationship building. Corporate Communications: An International Journal, 16(3), 204-217.

    Taylor, M. y Kent, M. (2014). Dialogic Engagement: Clarifying Foundational Concepts. Journal of Public Relations Research, 26(5), 384–398.

    Theunissen, P. y Noordin, W. (2012). Revisiting the concept “dialogue” in public relations. Public Relations Review, 38(1), 5–13.
  • Author Biography

    Cecilia Claro M., Universidad de los Andes

    La autora es periodista de la Universidad de los Andes, máster en Business Comunication del ESE Business
    School y máster Académico en Comunicación por la Universidad de los Andes, Chile.

How to Cite
Claro M., C. (2019). Organizational listening: a conceptual proposal. ANAGRAMAS RUMBOS Y SENTIDOS DE LA COMUNICACIóN, 17(34), 239-253.


Download data is not yet available.