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Title:Toward a theory of listening competency: The development of a two-factor model of listening in organizations
Author(s):Cooper, Lynn Oeffling
Department / Program:Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Speech Communication
Abstract:Despite its importance as the primary communication skill in human development as well as human activity, listening has been orphaned from an academic viewpoint. Three major assumptions within the research literature have contributed to its neglect. The first assumption, which persisted for years, was that listening was a unitary, rather than multidimensional, skill. The second assumption limited listening to a cognitive process, rather than view it as communication behavior. The third assumption reinforced listening as a linear act rather than an interactive process. As a result, after more than fifty years of research, the state of the art in listening exhibits (1) little consensus among communication scholars in regard to a definition of the concept, (2) limited theoretical development (particularly in behavioral models), (3) an obsession with measurement, and (4) a lack of innovative application of listening for organizational contexts.
Communication competency was proposed as an alternative base for studying listening behavior. Listening competency was specifically defined as the perception of knowledge and ability to effectively use behaviors which show an accurate understanding of the message as well as demonstrate support for the relationship between communication participants, within the appropriate boundaries of the organizational situation. A two-factor model (accuracy and support) was proposed. The Managerial Listening Survey (MLS) was introduced as an instrument for exploring listening competency.
The results of a confirmatory factor analysis and other statistical tests to determine validity and reliability demonstrated support for the hypothesized two-factor model of listening competency. In addition, perceived listening competency was seen to be highly correlated with general impressions of effectiveness, as well as the individual's satisfaction with the work relationship. While the findings must be cautiously generalized from this sample, this study provides an important move toward an interactional theory of listening. Implications for theory development, teaching and training for organizational success were discussed.
Issue Date:1991
Rights Information:Copyright 1991 Cooper, Lynn Oeffling
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9136577
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9136577

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