Organizational Listening II: Expanding the Concept, Theory, and Practice with Jim Macnamara

Are you ready to take your organization to the next level? When you decide to shift your time and resources towards systems, tools and processes for organizational listening to effectively listen to stakeholders, you will have impressive benefits that may surprise you. Be the pioneer.

Jim Macnamara, a pioneer in listening research and Distinguished Professor of Public Communication in the School of Communication at the University of Technology Sydney, returned to your listening SUPERPOWER Podcast to share incredible insights from his latest book, “Organizational Listening II: Expanding the Concept, Theory, and Practice,” published by Peter Lang.

Jim Macnamara is internationally recognized as a leader in evaluation of public communication and for his pioneering studies into organizational listening. He is the author of 16 books and almost 100 book chapters and journal articles and a sought-after keynote speaker.

In this episode, Jim discusses the surprising lack of listening from governments and organizations, particularly towards employees and marginalized communities. He highlights the importance of listening at scale, as well as to the silent voices. 

Jim also explores the importance of organizational listening in driving better engagement, trust, and innovation. He shares examples of companies that have successfully implemented listening practices, such as employee-designed products and customer councils.

Contrary to the misconception that listening requires more time and resources, Jim explains that organizations can achieve better results by reducing excessive information output and talking and instead focusing on effective listening. He emphasizes the benefits of listening, including improved employee retention, productivity, and reputation.

Throughout the episode, Jim emphasizes the communicative act of listening and the consequences of not listening. He encourages leaders to prioritize listening and engage in true consultation with employees and stakeholders.

To learn more about organizational listening, you can check out Jim Macnamara’s new book, “Organizational Listening: Expanding the Concept, Theory, and Practice,” published by Peter Lang.

“Listening is not just a passive waiting time, it is a communicative act. And not listening is a communicative act as well.” – Jim Macnamara


  • 00:03:04 – Jim Macnamara discusses his research and the surprising lack of listening during the COVID-19 pandemic and the disappointment in the lack of change in organizations and governments.
  • 00:06:33 – The importance of listening in organizations and the need for leaders to understand the needs and perspectives of their employees and customers.
  • 00:08:42 – Introduction to Jim Macnamara ‘s new book, “Organizational Listening 2: Expanding the Concept, Theory, and Practice,” which includes new research and contributions from other academics in the field.
  • 00:13:57 – The challenge of listening to a large number of stakeholders and the need for outreach and engagement with diverse groups.
  • 00:18:14 – Examples of organizations that have successfully implemented listening practices, such as innovation competitions and customer councils.
  • 00:20:38 – The misconception that listening is a burden or cost for organizations, and the need to shift the focus to the benefits and opportunities it brings.
  • 00:29:09 – Addressing the time and resource concerns of implementing listening practices by reducing ineffective communication and substituting it with listening efforts.
  • 00:32:22 – The sliding scale of listening and communication, with the understanding that there are times when transmitting information is necessary, but overall, communication should involve listening and exchange.
  • 00:35:25 – The communicative act of not listening and the importance of listening in building relationships and trust.
  • 00:35:48 – The concept of organizational listening and the need for systems, tools, and processes to effectively listen to stakeholders.
  • 00:38:44 – Connect with Jim Macnamara  and where to find his book, “Organizational Listening 2: Expanding the Concept, Theory, and Practice.”

Resources mentioned:

Key Takeaways:

“Stop doing some of the things you’re doing that are ineffective and replace them with efforts at listening. Listening is communication.” – Jim Macnamara 

“Organizational listening is not a burden or a cost, it is a major opportunity for better engagement, trust-building, and financial success.” – Jim Macnamara 

“Communication is about imparting and sharing information, it’s about community and exchange. Listening is the key to true communication.” – Jim Macnamara 

“To truly listen, organizations must go beyond selective listening and engage in outreach, actively seeking diverse perspectives and voices.” – Jim Macnamara 

Connect with Jim Macnamara 

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