Jim Macnamara


Jim Macnamara PhD, FAMEC, FAMI, CPM

Professor of Public Communication, University of Technology Sydney

Organizational Listening – the Missing Link

Public communication practices including public relations are theorized as two-way, dialogic, engagement-orientated, and designed to create and maintain relationships.

But a two-year, three-country study involving in-depth analysis of the various public communication activities of 36 corporate, government, and non-government organizations shows that professional communicators are primarily involved in constructing an ‘architecture of speaking’ on behalf of organizations. Organizational listening is sporadic and sometimes non-existent. When listening does occur, it is predominantly instrumental, designed to serve the interests of the organization such as providing insights for targeting.

This landmark study proposes that organizations need to equally construct an architecture of listening to achieve true dialogue and engagement. Organizations with a large number of stakeholders and stakeseekers need a capacity for large-scale listening that can process, make sense of, and respond to various voices.

In this keynote presentation, Jim Macnamara will:

  • Summarize the findings of this important study;
  • Identify the essential components of an architecture of listening;
  • Describe some of the tools, techniques, and technologies available for large-scale listening; and
  • Explain the benefits of listening compared with the inevitable and damaging consequences of not listening.


Jim Macnamara is Professor of Public Communication at the University of Technology Sydney, a position he took up in 2007 following a 30-year professional career spanning journalism, public relations, and media and communication research. Immediately prior to joining UTS he founded and headed the Asia Pacific office of the leading media research firm, CARMA International, for more than a decade before selling the company.

Macnamara holds a BA in journalism and media studies; an MA by research in media studies; and a PhD in media research. He is the author of 15 books including The 21st Century Media (R)evolution: Emergent Communication Practices (2014) and Organizational Listening: The Missing Essential in Public Communication published in 2016.

Twitter: @jimmacnamara

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