During organizational change, organizations increase their listening initiatives to monitor resistance, lower uncertainty, and enhance commitment to change. Scholars have argued that many of these initiatives are superficial in nature and may be compared to inauthentic listening, the key concept explored in this article. In general, while organizational listening has been known to improve employee trust and engagement, organizations struggle to incorporate effective listening due to lack of systems, processes, structures, resources, and skill sets. This study sought to explore the perspectives of both senior-level executives and employees who had provided input during change [i.e., input providers]. Thirty-seven participants from large, publicly held companies were interviewed for the study. The study found that inauthentic listening resulted from change-related restrictions, problematic conduct of solicitation, and limited analysis and presentation of input. Inauthentic listening had negative consequences for the organizations and the input providers. Organizations can enhance listening competencies by selecting culturally sensitive technologies, developing comprehensive analysis mechanisms, adopting a holistic listening approach, and developing empathetic skills for those soliciting input.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Language and Linguistics