The Missing Essential in Public Communication
5. The benefits of organizational listening for democratic politics, government, business, and society
· 5 · the benefits of organizational listening for democratic politics, government, business, and society This chapter addresses what some see as the ‘elephant in the room’ in the form of a number of interrelated questions about the findings reported and the recom- mendations presented. Collectively they pose what, in academic terms, is the ultimate question in any research project. So what? Why do organizations have to listen, including to strangers in some cases? Most specifically, what are the benefits of organizational listening? These are questions that have arisen during this research project, posed both as genuine inquiries and as veiled objections or perceived obstacles. To these I add one more: What happens if organizations don’t listen to their stakeholders, publics, and concerned stakeseekers? Based on the experiences of a number of organizations, this analysis has already argued that organizational listening does not require additional resources in the form of personnel, time, facilities, or technology. It may require different personnel, facilities, technologies, and skills. But successful organizations demonstrate that two-way communication including listening leading to dialogue and engagement can be accomplished through realloca- tion of resources from ineffective and lower priority activities. This analysis also has explained the method for identifying activities that can be scaled back or eliminated—measurement and evaluation conducted using rigorous quantitative and qualitative research. 296 organizational listening So, in the final analysis, this is not a question of return on investment (ROI). No additional investment is proposed. This approach is taken for two reasons. First, proposing an...
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