Organizing by projective hearing: the active use of a passive sense

C. van Woerkum, N. Aarts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This article aims to show that managers' reactions to employees, based on good listening, combined with a clear vision on what is important in the future, is in fact a strong organizing force. The “projective hearing” concept is introduced to capture this underrated ability that may explain why a strong delivery style is not the highway to effective leadership: what happens interactionally is probably more interesting. Projective hearing with reflexive responding allows for immediate responses in a variety of situations, acknowledges that signals have more influence than messages, and is rooted in daily interactional practices. It fits in with recent planning theory that stresses a flexible response in complex, dynamic environments. It is also linked to the question of how to motivate coworkers and to the media richness theory, stressing and explaining the value of face-to-face encounters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)171-182
JournalInternational Journal of Strategic Communication
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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