1st Edition

Strategic Listening How Managers, Coworkers, and Organizations Can Become Better at Listening

By Mats Heide, Anette Svingstedt Copyright 2024
    122 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    122 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    122 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Productivity Press

    Listening is so simple, yet so difficult. Many times, listening is taken for granted. One could therefore say that listening is the forgotten part of communication. Although organizations have more digital and analog communication channels than ever, too little time is spent listening to customers, employees, and other influential groups. It is a shame that listening is not given more attention, as it is linked to many positive values. Examples include better conversations, increased trust and confidence, more outstanding commitment and job satisfaction, lower absenteeism due to illness, higher productivity and quality of work, increased sales, better relationships with customers and employees, and many other positive effects. To the extent that listening takes place, organizations rarely take a holistic approach to it. Strategic listening means a given objective for listening, thoughts about who should listen, when it should happen, and so on. An organization’s listening must become a strategic issue to exploit the great potential of increased listening.

    This book provides answers to the following:

    • Why is listening important?
    • What are the barriers to listening?
    • How can both individuals and organizations become better at listening?
    • How can organizations develop strategic listening skills?
    • How does one build a system to improve an organization’s strategic listening? 

    Chapter 1: Listening

    Chapter 2: Strategic Listening

    Chapter 3: Listening Culture

    Chapter 4: How you become a better listener

    Chapter 5: Listening and leadership

    Chapter 6: Coworkership and listening

    Chapter 7: How to create strategic listening


    Mats Heide (Ph.D.) is Professor of Strategic Communication at the Department of Strategic Communication, Lund University, Sweden. Heide together with colleagues introduced the field of strategic communication in Sweden. He has also, together with colleagues, driven the development of the Department of Strategic Communication at Lund University. For over 20 years, he has researched social media and organizational learning, change communication, crisis communication and conducted professional studies of communication practitioners. During 2014–2018, he was project manager for one of the world’s largest research projects on communicative organizations. It was in this project that Mats discovered the importance of strategic listening. During the years 2020–2022, Mats had a three-year continuation project »Communicative public organizations together with Charlotte Simonsson and Rickard Andersson. The focus of this project was the trust of organizations, which was studied based on three areas: employees, digitalization, and the communicator’s changed role as a business developer. In this project too, listening was an important factor. Heide is the author and co-author of 16 books and many book chapters and articles. He has written several textbooks on strategic communication, organizational communication, and crisis communication. Recently the following books have been published. Strategic Communication: An Introduction to Theory and Global Practice (together with Jesper Falkheimer, Routledge, 2023), Strategic Internal Communication (together with Susanne Dahlman, Routledge 2020) and Internal Crisis Communication (together with Charlotte Simonsson, Routledge, 2019). Heide is also editor together with Jesper Falkheimer for Research Handbook of Strategic Communication (Elgar Publishing, 2023) with 59 international chapter contributors. Mats also works as a consultant with lecture, advisory and networking assignments for both private companies and public organizations.


    Anette Svingstedt (Ph.D.) is senior lecturer in Service studies at Lund University. Svingstedt has a 20-year, previous management career within the private business life in industries such as hotels and restaurants and the travel industry. In these businesses, Anette has been manager, co-owner and CEO. During these years, the interest and commitment to leadership in service activities was awakened. In 2012, Anette defended her thesis in service science with a thesis on the customer meeting, and how this important meeting between representatives of organizations and those they are there for needs to be managed and organized based on a strategic service perspective. Since her dissertation, she has researched and taught in areas such as service management, leadership, value creation and sustainable services. Svingstedt has also been head of the Department of Service Management with almost 70 researchers and administrative staff. From a service perspective, the starting point is that the organization must have the customer’s focus and in order to be successful. Regardless of whether it concerns a private or public organization, it is of central importance to listen both inwardly to the employees and outwardly to those who use the organization’s services. This is to create an organizational infrastructure that enables good quality in the meeting with the customer. In addition to her thesis, Anette has written debate articles, book chapters on the customer meeting and scientific articles on the theme of value creation, professionalism, and leadership. In addition, since 2002, Anette has worked as a consultant and lecturer in both the private and public sectors.