Jim Macnamara

The work and 'architecture of listening': Requisites for ethical organisation-public communication

Communication has been identified as 'the organising element of human life' and the basis of human society by sociologists and communication theorists. However, human communication is widely conflated with voice and speaking, particularly in relation to public communication in its various forms including political, organisational, corporate, and marketing communication and cognate disciplinary fields such as public relations. The essential corollary of affording and exercising voice - listening - is extensively discussed in an interpersonal and intra-organisational context, but it is little examined in terms of organisation-public interaction, which is a feature of industrialised societies. This paper critically examines this gap in the literature and reports findings of a pilot study that identify an important direction for further research essential to enhancing democracy, social justice and equity, and the ethics of organisation-public communication.

Keywords: voice, listening, speaking, organisational communication, engagement, ethics


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Note on the contributor

Jim Macnamara, PhD, is Professor of Public Communication at the University of Technology Sydney, a position he took up in 2007 after a 30-year professional career spanning journalism, public relations and media research. He holds a BA in Journalism, Media Studies and Literary Studies; an MA by Research in Media Studies, and a PhD in Media Research. He is the author of 15 books including Public relations theories, practices, critiques, published by Pearson Australia in 2012, The 21st century media (r)evolution: Emergent communication practices, Peter Lang, New York, second edition 2014, and Journalism and PR: Unpacking 'spin': Stereotypes and media myths, Peter Lang, New York, 2014. Email: jim.macnamara@uts.edu.au.