Listening : Processes, Functions, and Competency book cover
2nd Edition

Processes, Functions, and Competency

ISBN 9781138229501
Published January 9, 2018 by Routledge
374 Pages

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Book Description

Listening: Processes, Functions, and Competency, Second Edition explores the role of listening as an essential element in human communication. The book addresses listening as a cognitive process, as a social function, and as a critical professional competency. Blending theory with practical application, Listening builds knowledge, insight, and skill to help the reader achieve the desired outcome of effective listening. This second edition introduces listening as a goal-directed activity and has been expanded to include a new chapter addressing listening in mediated contexts. Theory and research throughout the text have been updated, and the final chapter covers new research methodologies and contexts, including fMRI, aural architecture, and music.

Table of Contents




Chapter 1: Introduction & Overview

Case Study 1.1: Getting to Know Our Students


Listening Is Fundamental

The Importance of Listening Competency

Listening Takes Time (Literally)

Defining Listening

Models of Listening

Speech Communication Models

Cognitive Models

Speech Science Models

Current Listening Models

The Listening MATERRS Model

Worthington Fitch-Hauser Model of Listening: Listening MATERRS

Mental Stimulus






Staying Connected (and Motivated)

Overview of the Text

Key Concepts

Discussion Questions

Listening Activities

Additional Readings

Chapter 2: Listening: Types and Competencies

Case Study 2.1: Listening Is Hard to Do

Listening as a Critical Communication Competency

Listening Competency

Types of Listening

Discriminative Listening

Comprehensive Listening

Critical Listening

Case Study 2.2: Distinguishing Facts from Opinion

Appreciative Listening

Therapeutic Listening

Empathtic Listening

Case Study 2.3: A Feeling Touch

Levels of Listening

Case Study 2.4: Nolvia’s Frustration


Key Concepts

Discussion Questions

Listening Activities

Chapter 3: Listening & Information Processing

Case Study 3.1: Carter’s Dilemma

Receiving and Processing Information

Schemas and Information Processing

Schemas and Attending

Schemas and Perceiving

Schemas and Memory

Schema and Listening


Key Concepts

Discussion Questions

Listening Activities

Additional Readings

Chapter 4: Individual Differences in Learning Processes

Case Study 4.1: Troubles

Why Study Individual Differences?

Exploring Personality Traits

Personality States versus Traits

Personality Type

Extraversion or Introversion

Sensing or Intuiting

Thinking or Feeling

Judgment or Perception

Listening Styles as Habitual Listening

Listening Styles Profile Revised (LSP-R)32

Listening Styles as a Situational Demand


Active-empathetic Listening


Conversational Sensitivity

Emotional Intelligence

Communication Apprehension

Cognitive Complexity


Key Concepts

Discussion Questions

Listening Activities

Additional Readings

Chapter 5: Listening in a Mediated World

Case Study 5.1: What do you mean I’m not listening to you?

Noise Sensitivity

Mediated Social Interactions

Mobile Devices

Case Study 5.2: How to succeed in business?

Media Supported Multitasking

The Multitasking Brain

The Downsides to Switch-tasking

Why do we switch-task?

The Exceptions

Strategies to Reduce Switch-tasking

Computers, Television & Music

Computer Mediated Communication

Case Study 5.3: The Interview



Listening, Learning, and Technology


Key Concepts

Discussion Questions

Listening Activities


Chapter 6: Listening in the Conversational Context

Case Study 6.1: Stressed Out

Conversations and Interaction

Grice’s Maxims

Defining Conversation

Conversation as Cocreations

Case Study 6.2: Cocreating Conversation

Conversational Variables

Individual Differences


Conversational Context


Storytelling and Identity

Social Support

Directive and Nondirective Social Support

Case Study 6.3: Listening for Tone

Additional Attributes of Social Support

Case Study 6.4: A Long Day

Identifying Negative Social Support

Problem and Emotion-focused Support

Meeting Social Support Needs


Handling Angry People

Conflict and Culture


Key Concepts

Discussion Questions

Listening Activities

Additional Readings

Chapter 7: Listening and Relationship Building: The Family Context

Case Study 7.1: All in the Family

Listening in Relationships

Why Study Listening in Families?

Family Communication Features

Family Orientation Schemas

Family Talks



The Role of Family Stories

Establishing Family Schemas and Scripts

Parents as Communication Teachers

Learning Conversational Rules

Learning Social Support

Learning Problem Solving

Learning to Manage Emotions

Molding Children’s Listening Behaviors

Why Parents "Don’t Listen"

Parent-Child Conflict

Sibling Relationships

Communicating with Older Adults


Key Concepts

Discussion Questions

Listening Activities

Additional Readings

Chapter 8: Listening and Relationship Building: Friends and Romance

Case Study 8.1: What Makes a Relationship?

Making and Becoming Friends

Early Friendships—Early and Middle Childhood

Case Study 8.2: Ben’s Story

Adolescent Friendships

Adult Friendships

Friendships and Mediated Communication

Building Friendships

Listening in Intimate Relationships

Dating/Initiating Romantic Relationships

Developing and Maintaining Romantic Relationships

Committed Couples

Marital Satisfaction

Couples in Conflict

Listening Responses to Conflict

Communication Patterns

Culture and Commitment


Key Concepts

Discussion Questions

Listening Activities

Additional Readings


Chapter 9: Listening in Context: Education

Case Study 9.1: Classroom Listening


Academic Listening

Individual Differences in the Learning Experience


Learning Style

Emotional Intelligence

Communication and Individual Receiver Apprehension

Teaching Goals and Methods

Listening and the Educational "Audience"

Communicating Interpersonally: Teachers and Students

Communicating in the Classroom

Listening and Taking Notes

Culture and Diversity


Socioeconomic Differences

Culture and Ethnicity

Special Challenges for Nonnative Speakers


Key Concepts

Discussion Questions

Listening Activities

Additional Readings

Chapter 10: Listening in Context: Organizations

Case Study 10.1: Cultural Differences and Organizational Listening

Understanding Organizations

Purpose and Mission

Organizational Culture

Organizational Climate

Organizational Social Support


The Listening Organization

The Learning (Listening) Organization

Organization Structure and Change

Listening and Organizational Conflict

Case Study 10.2: When Corporate Cultures Collide

Employee Relations

Customer Satisfaction

Failure to Listen

Becoming a Listening Organization


Key Concepts

Discussion Questions

Listening Activities

Additional Readings


Chapter 11: Listening and Health: Psychological and Physical Realities

Case Study 11.1: The Physician’s Office

The Importance of Health Communication

Listening and Psychological Well-being

Elements of Reflective Listening

Listening and Physical Well-being

Factors Affecting Patient-Provider Interactions

Nature of the Visit

Patient Sex

Case Study 11.2: Deena’s Story

Impact of Culture


Case Study 11.3: Helping Nana

What You Can Do as a Patient

Enhancing Communication

Provider Communication and Listening

Case Study 11.4: NaMii’s Story

Factors Influencing Providers

Patient Outcomes: Satisfaction and Compliance

Tips for Health Workers & Volunteers


Key Concepts

Discussion Questions

Listening Activities

Additional Readings

Chapter 12: Listening in Legal Contexts

Case Study 12.1: Shooting at Merc’s Department Store

Case Study 12.2: To Catch a Vandal

Public Safety Officials

Law Enforcement Officers

Case Study 12.3: Office Invasion

Crisis Negotiation

Attorney-Client Communication

Advice for Attorneys

Advice for Clients

Listening Challenges of the Jury

The Jury as Audience

Listening and Voir Dire

Courtroom Context

Opening Statements


Case Study 12.4: Silicon Breast Implant

Closing Arguments

Jury Deliberations

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Types of Disputes

Listening and ADR


Case Study 12.5: Kathryn & Indigo’s Problem


Key Concepts

Discussion Questions

Listening Activities

Additional Readings




Chapter 13: Transforming Listening: Future Directions

Case Study 13.1: Looking Back. Looking Forward.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging

The Musical Brain

Effects of Listening to Music

Aural Architecture (and more)

Listening and Technology

Exploring Listening and Conversations

Exploring Listening and Education

Concluding Thoughts

Is it Listening?


Key Concepts

Discussion Questions

Listening Activities

Additional Readings

View More



Debra L. Worthington, Professor of Communication at Auburn University, is a past president of the International Listening Association. Reflecting her interest in listening research, she is the co-editor of The Sourcebook of Listening Research: Methodology &Measures (2017). Other research has examined factors affecting listening processes, including listening style and mobile technology.

Margaret Fitch-Hauser, Associate Professor Emeritus of Communication at Auburn University, is a past editor of the International Journal of Listening (Taylor & Francis). Her research has explored listening fidelity, information distortion, and the effect of schemata on the listening process. She has authored a textbook on business writing, multiple book chapters, cases studies and numerous scholastic papers.


Listening: Processes, Functions and Competency, is an impressive text that provides students of listening communication with up-to-date, research-based insights into this highly complex process. As leading listening researchers, Worthington and Fitch-Hauser offer a solid conceptual grounding for understanding the process of listening and how to function more effectively as a listener.

-Andrew Wolvin, University of Maryland, USA

The book presents comprehensive and cutting edge research on listening. The way in which the text relates theory and research findings to real life scenarios is intriguing and makes it definitely relevant both for academic learning and for building strong listening skills.

-Margarete Imhof, Mainz University, Germany

Hands down the best listening text on the market today. It includes the most recent research in an easy-to-read fashion. The research comes alive and is made practical with the case study vignettes integrated throughout each chapter. There is an excellent addition of the chapter focusing on Listening in a Mediated World. Truly an extraordinary text.

-Laura Janusik, Ph.D., Rockhurst University, USA

I strongly recommend Listening because it takes seriously the role of research in building a knowledge base about listening. It also provides sufficient resources for the creative instructor to encourage students to think critically about listening and to apply what they have learned in order to become more proficient. 

-Graham Bodie, University of Mississippi, USA