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JMEXXX10.1177/1052562917748696Journal of Management EducationSpataro and Bloch

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Journal of Management Education
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DOI: 10.1177/1052562917748696
https://doi.org/10.1177/1052562917748696
Listening in Management journals.sagepub.com/home/jme

Education

Sandra E. Spataro1 and Janel Bloch1

Abstract
Listening is a critical communication skill and therefore an essential element
of management education. Active listening surpasses passive listening or
simple hearing to establish a deeper connection between speaker and
listener, as the listener gives the speaker full attention via inquiry, reflection,
respect, and empathy. This article offers a method and tools for teaching
active listening that can be implemented in online, hybrid, or face-to-face
platforms. We begin by reviewing the great demand for listening skills, in
light of how little time is spent on listening instruction compared with that
on speaking instruction. We then present a set of learning materials and a
procedure for using them that includes both pre- and posttests, multimedia
learning materials, and exercises that enhance skill development. We
follow the learning plan with analyses of both quantitative and qualitative
data, showing support for the suggested method. These results fit with our
personal experience of consistent success with the method across student
levels (graduate and undergraduate) and platforms (online and face-to-
face). Finally, we conclude with a discussion of the presentation and some
implications for teaching listening in management education.

1Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, KY, USA

Corresponding Author:
Sandra E. Spataro, Department of Management, Haile/US Bank College of Business, Northern
Kentucky University, BC 371, Highland Heights, KY 41099, USA.
Email: spataros1@nku.edu

2 Journal of Management Education 00(0)

Keywords
active listening, communication, listening pedagogy, online education, hybrid/
blended courses, management education, self-assessment, television, written
exercises

In this age of seemingly constant communication via social media and other
outlets, people have increased opportunities to be heard, which raises the
question—Is anyone listening? Active listening has long been identified as an
important communication skill in all domains of life, including the work-
place. The many communication-related textbooks that cover listening (e.g.,
Locker & Kienzler, 2015; Wood, 2015) and the books devoted exclusively to
listening (e.g., Ferrari, 2012) reflect the widespread need for skills in this
area. Employers’ demands for active listening further illustrate its importance
in professional settings (Nowogrodski, 2015). A recent review of the job
search website indeed.com found “active listening” listed as a qualification or
required skill in approximately 17,000 postings, including positions in man-
agement, accounting, and sales. Active listening has been shown to be an
essential managerial skill necessary for successfully interacting with employ-
ees, customers, and colleagues (Comer & Drollinger, 1999; Hassall, Joyce,
Arquero Montano, & Donoso Anes, 2003; Ramsey & Sohi, 1997).
Active listening is important in management students’ educational lives
as well and is often identified by accrediting bodies as a core competency
(Stone, Lightbody, & Whait, 2013). Canpolat, Kuzu, Yildirim, and Canpolat
(2015) found that high-performing university students exhibit a variety of
cognitive, affective, and psycho-motor active listening skills. The increasing
use of social media has made it easier to have one’s opinions heard—so
much so that it is difficult for students to stop texting and tweeting long
enough to listen or learn (Dolby, 2012). With calls for management educa-
tion to be increasingly interactive and experiential (e.g., Gosling &
Mintzberg, 2006), active listening skills that increase the quality of interac-
tion with others and the ability to assimilate information in debriefing dis-
cussions are vital. Furthermore, the silence involved in active listening can
be valuable in discussion-oriented classes because it allows for the reflection
and thoughtful questioning that can lead to increased understanding
(Zembylas & Michaelides, 2004).
While efforts have been made to include instruction on active listening in
higher education, more time is spent teaching speaking than teaching listen-
ing, even though most people spend much more time listening than speaking
(Janusik, 2002). Indeed, Brink and Costigan (2015) found that while employ-
ers view listening to be a critically important skill, it was included as a stated

Spataro and Bloch 3

learning goal by fewer than 15% of AACSB-accredited schools, while 76%
identified presenting. Despite employers’ desire for active listening skills and
students’ need for skill development in this area, of the various forms of com-
munication skills, listening is often comparatively neglected in not only for-
mal management curricula, but in education in general (Janusik, 2010; Stone
et al., 2013; Weger, Castle, & Emmett, 2010). This lack of focus on listening
as a critical skill to be formally developed in university curricula seems con-
trary to its importance to management students and employers and to effec-
tive communication overall.
Further complicating efforts to close the gap in teaching active listening is
the way teaching is changing in general. At the same time that the demand for
active listening skills is at a peak, new platforms for teaching all subjects are
being introduced and embraced. From 2003 to 2015, online courses grew
significantly in popularity, with a threefold increase in the number of students
opting into at least one online course (Allen, Seaman, Pullin, & Straut, 2016).
Despite technological advancements from tools such as Skype and Facetime,
students still perceive there to be a lack of interaction in online classes com-
pared to face-to-face classes (Platt, Raile, & Yu, 2014). As universities con-
tinue to offer courses in face-to-face, hybrid (face-to-face and online), and
online platforms (Mathewson, 2015; Mitchell, Parlamis, & Claiborne, 2015;
Morrison, 2016), interactive teaching tools that can be implemented across
all these platforms will be most useful.
This article addresses both bringing active listening content to manage-
ment courses and embracing a variety of platforms for learning. Specifically,
we describe a procedure for teaching active listening that works well in fully
online, hybrid, or face-to-face courses. The procedure includes online materi-
als, articles to read, video clips from a popular television show, and written
exercises that guide students through a process to understand and begin to
practice active listening. Along with the procedure itself, we present pre- and
posttest data indicating its effectiveness, including student comments on its
utility. We conclude with a discussion of our procedure and its implications.

Active Listening in Management Education
Defining Active Listening
It may be a coincidence that silent and listen contain the same letters (Gillett,
2016; Gitterman & Appel, 2014). For some (particularly in modern Western
culture), silence is viewed as something to be avoided or as a breakdown in
the conversation (Scollon, 1985; Zembylas & Michaelides, 2004). Silence,
however, has many important functions in discourse (Saville-Troike, 1985).

an . Active listeners. based on Rogers’ (1951) seminal work on empathic listening. Still. a recent synthesis by Weger et al.4 Journal of Management Education 00(0) As Zembylas and Michaelides (2004) say of the importance of giving value to silence in the classroom. they show a deeper connection to speakers and can show genuine empathy (Goleman. it includes both cognitive and behavioral activity (Janusik. provides a use- ful characterization of this skill. Hamlin. it is just one part of the process. while silence is indeed an important part of active listening. yet strive to identify and question assumptions (Ferrari. why it is important. Weger et al. Therefore. active listening involves striving for empathy and understanding (Rogers. 2008. As this definition indicates. Head- Reeves. While there are many representations of what comprises active listening. and also by practicing it themselves. (2010).. While remaining relatively quiet. Therefore. focusing on both the content and how it is being delivered. communicating attentiveness through body language. 224). (2) the listener reflecting the speaker’s message back to the speaker. simply “knowing how” to actively listen is an insufficient learning outcome. because active listening requires deliberate involvement from the listener to be actively engaged in the speaker’s experi- ence—while staying relatively silent—it can be a difficult skill to learn. active listeners show respect. indicating full attention. Johnson. 208). and (3) the listener questioning the speaker to encourage elab- oration and further details. Weger et al. to be able to transfer active listening to their work and personal lives. and maintaining eye contact (Pearce. Because active listening is so much more than just hearing. Teaching Active Listening The question then becomes: How can active listening be taught? Teaching active listening can be more complicated than helping students learn other topics. p. Overall. “The goal in active listening is to develop a clear understanding of the speaker’s concern and also to clearly communicate the listener’s inter- est in the speaker’s message” (McNaughton. do not pass judgment on the speaker. McCarthy. 2012). very importantly. students must internalize it—through understanding what it is. & Schreiner. 1995). Overall. Furthermore. because of the increasing focus in higher education on assessment and disciplinary knowledge. Rather. Specific behavioral components of active listen- ing include paraphrasing. “Part of wisdom is knowing when to speak and when to use silence to point the way” (p. exerting significant effort as a participant in the conversation. 1998). 1951. 2010). & Barker. 2010) as well as attentiveness based not just on hearing but on fully comprehending the message being communicated. (2010) define active listening as having three essential elements: (1) the listener’s nonverbal involvement.

1980). 1995). and research specific to teaching active listening. then eventually becoming more sophisticated at discerning situational cues to make decisions about skill application. A second direction teachers of active listening can pursue comes from research on skill development. 367). there are prescriptions for being successful in the endeavor. Recent research demonstrates the value and increased use of films in higher education and in management education (e. 2013). 1997). Billsberry. Learners move through the stages of development with deliberate practice. 2009. 1994. is beneficial to the skill acquisition process. and learn from when more of their brain is activated.. . and Tesch-Romer (1993) as “activities invented with the primary purpose of attaining and improving skills” (p. 2010). Rooted in dual-coding theory’s (Paivio. the time investment. Krampe. Berk. First.g. 2004. Despite the complications involved with teaching active listening. and ultimately becoming capable of activating the skill as an instinctual response to situ- ational stimuli (Dreyfus & Dreyfus. Dreyfus & Dreyfus. 1990) basic tenet that “more is better” in gaining students’ interest and attention. like that for a young student learning to play piano. throughout this practice. 2002). Intentional and regular practice. and lack of training for instructors (Janusik. students have more to experience. Greater stimulation elicits more responses and thus encourages interactivity. Learning a skill is a process during which the learner passes through stages of development: first learning context-free rules in the abstract. Dreyfus.Spataro and Bloch 5 additional obstacle to teaching active listening in a formal curriculum is the difficulty of assessing it (Brownell. Thus. 1980). Other common objections from faculty who attempt to explain why they are not teaching active listening include lack of materials. movies. truly helping students internalize listening skills is best done interactively (Pearce et al. the use of videos in the classroom has been associated with tapping into students’ core intelligences and engaging both the left and right hemispheres of the brain (Berk. Models of skill acquisition (e. One effective way of stimulating interaction with face-to-face or online students is the use of video clips from television. students have more to offer in both face-to-face and online interaction with the instructor and fellow students and also in their engagement with the material outside of class. enhance our understanding of what students require to effectively learn a new skill. Morgan. & Beishuizen. Scaffolding includes diagnostic and other strategies through which the instructor pro- vides useful feedback based on student skill level (van de Pol. comment on. and other sources..g. 2009).. This is especially true for a complex skill like active listening. defined by Ericsson. Volman. learners can benefit from scaffolding—structured support for learners as they grow. Furthermore.

similarly. But where the Pearce et al. This includes tying active listening as a skill to the course learning objec- tives. Our method follows the general design structure that Pearce et al. On completion of this learning module. including courses in business communication. and feel confident about. activ- ity-based skill practice over time. Identify ways of. (1995) offer for listening skill acquisition. we developed and introduced new activities to be more versatile across . While the activities of the method occur intermittently over a period of weeks during the course. management. we developed the method described below for adding active listening to any course where developing listening skills is within the scope of the learning objec- tives. The learning objec- tives of this method are designed to help students begin developing skills in active listening. students should be able to do the following: 1. (1995) approach was firmly rooted in face-to-face classroom interac- tion. negoti- ation or conflict management. As with any learning module. The goals of the method presented here are (1) to initiate the skill acquisi- tion process for students and (2) to provide students with the resources and confidence to continue skill development on their own.6 Journal of Management Education 00(0) Based on these two tenets of teaching active listening—making the learn- ing interactive and supporting the student through the skill development pro- cess—we have developed the method described below for bringing active listening into the content and learning objectives in a wide variety of courses. 2. A Method for Teaching Active Listening in Management Education To help address the need for teaching active listening skills. and highlighting the great demand for active listening skills in the workplace. and then posttesting. the topic need not require any more time than any other topic. and ideation. Recognize contexts where active listening is applicable and use it in situationally appropriate ways. as a single topic in an MBA organizational behavior course. using and continuing to develop active listening skills in the future. Describe specific behaviors that comprise active listening. Their process calls for pretesting. providing examples to students of how active listening will benefit them. We have used this method as a single topic within a business communication course focused on writing and. 3. it is incumbent on the instructor to situate the method offered here within the context of the overall course.

Our method is composed of four parts: initial self- assessment and reflection. These are not listening comprehension assessments. Self-Assessment of Listening Styles To introduce students to the idea of active listening. Pearce. 2003. We selected the listening self-inventory (Lambert & Myers. the invento- ries and reflection could be completed outside of class in preparation for an in-class discussion and further learning about active listening. we first have them take two different listening inventories: The Listening Styles Inventory (LSI. In this assignment.. and re-assessment. of course. In a face-to-face or hybrid course. Instructors . Johnson. Both instruments enable students to analyze their scores/responses and gauge their listening strengths and areas for improvement. they could be completed in class at the discretion of the instructor. based on the scores and their own experiences.Spataro and Bloch 7 learning platforms. 2003). When assign- ing students to take these listening inventories. & Barker. it is important to make clear in the instructions that students will receive credit simply for completing them and will not be graded on the results. 1994. see Appendix B). 1994) to complement the LSI because it is a short 12-question instru- ment offering additional opportunity for self-assessment and a basis for com- parison. they are asked to do the following: •• Discuss their scores on the two inventories and. these activities are. Alternatively. see Appendix A) and a listening self-inven- tory (Lambert & Myers. active listening exercise. completed exactly when and where the student elects. learning materials. The next part of the self-assessment is for students to write a brief reflec- tion on their listening inventory results. rather they are tools for self- reflection. Assessments of the reliability and validity of the LSI support its value as a useful instrument for both students and workplace professionals (Pearce et al. We chose these inventories because they give students the opportunity to get a self-assessment of their current listening skills and styles from an active listening perspective. describe their listening skills (to advance Learning Objective 1 about describing behaviors that comprise active listening) •• Identify at least one area of listening they would like to improve (to begin moving toward Learning Objective 3 about feeling confident and planning ways to improve in the future) •• Provide any other related information In an online class.

The instructor needs to inform students that they will be asked to report a specific example in an assignment later in the course. a brief article and video on active listening (mindtools. but instructors should feel free to replace or supplement these with current. students are directed to various materials on active listening to help them learn more about it. Students can also be provided links to several other related articles. such as: “The Best Advice I Ever Got” (Chiquet. 2010). to the extent possible. Texts. As part of the diagnostic aspects of the scaffolding in this exercise. 2015). This could hap- pen as the next activity in an online module or in the same or next in-class session in a face-to-face context. the instructor should provide feedback on students’ interpretations of their scores and plans for becoming better listeners. It is critical that the materials offered report specific behaviors and strategies that comprise active listening (e. The second part of the reflection assignment. We have found the greatest suc- cess in learning materials with a mix of different media and approaches to the topic. Materials. For example. it helps to give them this assignment early (during the first few weeks of the course). This time span can be as small as 3 to 4 weeks or as long as 8 to 10 weeks. to boost the interactivity of the learning and provide illustration of the skill. and Videos After they complete the self-assessments. and a brief discussion of applying listening strategies when communication styles differ (Goulston. relevant materials about active listening. The specific materials that we have used are listed and briefly described in Appendix C. In addition to these written materials.8 Journal of Management Education 00(0) should provide feedback on these reflections. 2008). Through simple internet searches. 2016). Because the goal here is to give students time to apply active listening in their selected situation. the course textbook we used included a section on active listening. both as support for the learning and as assessment. we have found many different sources that meet these criteria. sets the stage for stu- dents to practice applying active listening in their work and personal lives in the area for improvement identified. This is when the students learn what active listening is and how to be an active listener. a blog post discussing the role of active listening in a job interview (Menzel. Feedback should be encouraging and support- ive. where students identify at least one area of listening they would like to improve. we include two video clips from . we grade these self-reflections based on accuracy of understanding of the concept and its application and on depth of reflection. 2013). which students were instructed to read (Locker & Kienzler..g. asking clarifying questions or paraphrasing the speaker’s words). depending on the course structure.com.

which is exactly what the active listening exercise described in the next section asks students to do. Raymond is seen learning about and practicing active listening in a parenting effective- ness class and then successfully applying the skills in solving problems in two separate situations. clearly specifying the source(s) drawn from (Learning Objective 1) •• Explanation of how their application of active listening affected the communication in the situation (Learning Objective 2) . They are the basis for student comprehen- sion of the “rules” and specific behaviors of the skill. The scenes show Raymond applying active listening in his personal life.S.Spataro and Bloch 9 an episode of the U. 1993). In the episode we use (Season 2. in support of Learning Objective 1. See Appendix D for a more detailed description of the specific clips. reinforcing presentations of what comprises active listening. Episode 2). Active Listening Exercise Some weeks after the learning materials are covered. One option is to have students complete the reading and then use the Everybody Loves Raymond video clips in class as a stimulus for discussion about active listening overall. mentioning concepts from either the text or any of the readings. one with his parents and the other with his young daughter. In face-to-face classes. abstract from context. television series Everybody Loves Raymond that dem- onstrate active listening strategies being applied in conversations with both adults and children. as described below. These scenes depict excellent examples of the deliberate practice that advances skill development and expertise (Ericsson et al. these materials offer multiple. Class time focused on active listening might also include additional listening applications such as the one we used in a hybrid MBA course. the written materials and video clips can be used inside or outside of class. Students are asked to write a brief reflection that includes the following parts: •• Description of an incident where they applied active listening in their work or personal life—one involving them actively engaging with another person (Learning Objective 1 about what comprises active lis- tening and Learning Objective 2 about recognizing contexts and applying active listening skills appropriately) •• Description of the specific active listening strategies they applied.. Altogether. This report gives students the opportunity to transfer their learning from the class by employing active listening strategies in their lives. students are required to submit a brief report on their application of the active listening strategies studied in this module.

Then. this module follows the two avenues to successfully teaching active listening outlined above. 1999). thus encouraging the self-awareness necessary for students to be able to con- tinue identifying situations in their work and personal lives where active lis- tening skills can be applied and to critically reflect on their performance in those situations (Walker & Finney. they are asked to complete the LSI for a second time as a posttest. practice. to think about their progress and ways to apply the skill going forward. pivotal moments from childhood. all students participated in an online discussion—offering their own insights and then commenting on other students’ posts—about the usefulness of active listening and the experi- ence of being really listened to. other exercises could be included instead of or in addition to the written reflection. role models. Reassessment of Listening Styles After students submit their reports on their own active listening experience. Altogether. these exercises incorporate critical thinking into skill development. students were asked to complete an interview exercise with a classmate. we encourage students. and reflect on the skill. They were instructed to use active listen- ing skills as they interviewed their partner. feedback from the instructor is useful at this stage. This exercise and discussion could be facili- tated in class for face-to-face learning. with the posttest introduced to close the within-course pro- cess. it . For example. As with the initial reflection exer- cise. either online or in-class. it incorporates interactivity. posttest structure. By having students not only practice listening skills but also reflect on them. and it follows the pretest.10 Journal of Management Education 00(0) •• Explanation of how they envision using active listening in the future and what actions on their part will be critical to their success in doing so (Learning Objective 3 about planning for the future) To provide additional deliberate practice to further students on the path toward building expertise in active listening. Furthermore. At this point in their skill development process. and celebrated triumphs. The pair were provided with interview questions intended to build bonds between teammates. We grade the written reports and discussion of the interview activity according to how well they meet the criteria set out in the assignment. including topics such as incidents of self-disappointment. in a hybrid MBA course (not included in our empirical sample) where we included active listening as an online module. skill activity. they have had time to apply. Instructors for this module may elect to formalize this reflection activity with a written assignment. informally. While we have not required any written submission of reflec- tion on the posttest.

A small amount of extra credit was offered as an incentive for participation. They came from a variety of majors including man- agement. we wanted to more rigor- ously examine its effectiveness in terms of achieving the learning objectives set out in the design. this shows students perceived progress in their listening skills. First. as described below. Evidence of Success The sections above describe the merits of the method offered here in terms of its fit with existing literature on the topic. these students reflected large parts of the university community.” (See Appendix A for a list of all the . accounting. in part because we col- lected data from entire classes for several semesters and had very high par- ticipation rates. we believe the sample is generally representative of the typical students in these classes. we analyzed the results of students’ pre.. marketing. and English. undergraduate business communication course at our university. Participants Our sample consists of 108 students enrolled in six different sections of an online. To do so. across a span of weeks. passive. all students enrolled in these classes were invited to participate. Procedure We collected and analyzed data in two different ways. but these descriptions do not pro- vide evidence of the method’s effectiveness. The study received approval from the university’s institutional review board. While both authors have enjoyed anecdotal success with this method in our courses. we collected and analyzed both quantitative and qualitative data. Furthermore. organizational leadership. Example questions include the following: “I have a pur- pose for listening when others are talking” and “I ask questions when I don’t fully understand a speaker’s message. et al. involved. which provided a quantitative self-assessment of any progress in active listening skills. to internalize and make poten- tially multiple attempts to apply active listening and develop their skills. communication. or detached based on their responses to 10 Likert-style questions with a 1 to 5 scale about active listening behaviors.and post-attempts of the LSI (Pearce et al. 1995. In total. 2003). While we refrained from collecting demographic information from stu- dents in order to preserve confidentiality.. education.Spataro and Bloch 11 gives students time. This inventory rates listeners as active. While it is not a measure of actual skill development. Pearce.

beyond the quantitative inventories. we analyzed the Time 1 and Time 2 scores on the LSI by calculating the mean scores for each sample at Time 1 and comparing them to the mean scores at Time 2 using a t test. were significantly higher than the pretest. Overall. SD1 = 4. Overall. and 64% for Learning Objective 3. organized around the learning objectives. These results provide additional empirical support for the effectiveness of this method. highlight- ing student responses that illustrate the learning that transpired. the students’ words provide a useful window into how they internalized the learning. or Time 1. per se. In addition to this analysis of the data.0001). First. The judges were high in agreement in their ratings of this sample. we supplemented these data with qualitative assessments of students’ skill acquisition. Thirty-six reports were evaluated this way. we report on the qualitative data below. While these shifts in the average scores provide supportive evidence of the effec- tiveness of the plan. We administered the LSI before offering any of the learning materials focused on active listening (Time 1) and then again weeks after students completed these materials and submitted a report of their own active listening experience (Time 2). In addition to quantitative data collection. M2 = 43.27. we used students’ writing in the active listening exercise to qualitatively assess their skill levels. Analysis and Results For the quantitative data we collected. 77% for Learning Objective 2. p < . two judges indepen- dently scored student reports of their active listening experiences from two randomly selected sections of the course. Learning Objective 1: Describe Specific Behaviors That Comprise Active Listening. scores (M1 = 37. they are self-report data rather than skill assessments. Scoring was based on a rubric reflecting the learning objectives (see Appendix E).35. SD2 = 4.31. Table 1 reports the results: 80% of the responses were good or excel- lent for Learning Objective 1. organized around learning objective. with representative sample excerpts from students. the qualitative data provided supplemental insight. We offer examples below. t > 10. The posttest. Thus.31. or Time 2 scores. We analyzed the qualitative data in two ways.) The highest possible score on the LSI is 50.  Students demonstrated a good understanding of what active listening entails by listing specific behaviors it involves and referring to sources that describe .12 Journal of Management Education 00(0) questions. into what students learned about active listening and were able to transfer into their work and personal lives. These results are also presented below. The comparison of these Time 1 and Time 2 data are the basis for our quantitative analyses reported in the Analysis and Results section.

. I also noticed throughout the discussion that all parties were using nonverbal cues to get their point across. I used the same paraphrasing technique with her and asked. there was a lot of frowning but by the end of the discussion. money. . Describe specific behaviors that 61% 19% 14% 6% comprise active listening 2. school. I was using acknowledgment responses and made sure that both speakers knew I was actively listening to what each had to say. etc. It was then Cathy’s turn to explain her thoughts.) were causing her to be unhappy. I had heard my name throughout the arguing. .  Percentage Scores According to Learning Objectives Rubric. smiles and relieved facial expressions were present. Learning objective Excellent Good Fair Unacceptable 1. using and continuing to develop active listening skills in the future active listening. Identify ways of. . Recognize contexts where active 58% 19% 14% 9% listening is applicable and use it in situationally appropriate ways 3. I knew it would be beneficial for both of them to hear each other’s side of the story without any interruptions. I used another tactic from the textbook.Spataro and Bloch 13 Table 1. “So you feel like outside problems are the main cause of what’s happening at work?” She agreed with my statement. . . Both Evelyn and Cathy seemed to have a good understanding of what was causing the problems and possible solutions that will help with making sure the same problems don’t keep occurring. which states that at the end of the conversation it is a good idea to check with the other parties and make sure everyone understands everything that has been said. so I realized it was within my boundaries to step into the conversation. there was a brief pause where I decided to speak up. At the beginning. . and feel 39% 25% 22% 14% confident about. . I first began using techniques that were viewed in the kitchen table scene of the Everybody Loves Raymond video. At the end of the conversation. Evelyn agreed with my statement and kept talking. I noticed that throughout the discussion. I first asked Evelyn how she was feeling and then asked Cathy the same question. . She also explained that a lot of outside problems (home. She stated that she was unhappy because she felt that employees weren’t giving her the respect that she deserved. One representative response demonstrates how a student drew from multiple sources in explaining how she used active listening (names have been changed): During the argument between Cathy and Evelyn. Locker and Kienzler explain that it is a good idea to paraphrase what the speaker is saying and let them think about what they just said and respond. .

I will ask if the reason she’s having a hard time focusing in workouts is because of the breakup.” I was able to identify the source of the communication barrier I had experienced with my boss in the past—we had different ways of communicating. I clarified by summarizing to let him know I was comprehending the message he was communicating. If I had not used the strategy learned in the text I would not have learned what I did about deeds and probably made another mistake on my trip back to the Recorder. I repeated her words and asked questions but never tried to lead her back to the breakup. but was actually being talked to. Occasionally we will talk about basketball and without her prompting it. Another student described how using the strategies learned helped her turn a situation around for herself: When I first walked into my boss’s office [after being told I had collected the wrong materials from the Recorder’s office] I felt as if I was going to be scolded for doing something wrong. and I was not. I helped her get over a very big obstacle in her life. . [He] was an explainer/belaborer. her performance with basketball also isn’t as good as she would like it to be. After each point [he] made.  In their reflections. This conversation quickly turned from what I thought was a scolding to a learning situation. I put aside the task I had been working on and listened intently as [he] spoke. Realizing that the situation wasn’t what I thought it was quickly changed what I listened to. I think by allowing her to use her own words and really work through problems in the way she was comfortable. I tried to sit back and just let her lead the conversation. After watching the episode of Everybody Loves Raymond.14 Journal of Management Education 00(0) Another student was able to reflect on the learning materials to bolster her understanding of what comprises active listening: Thinking back to my reading of Mark Goulston’s article “How to Listen When Your Communication Styles Don’t Match. This really bothered her. one student describes how she recognized that the situation called for active listening and then used it: My roommate has just gone through a breakup and is really struggling with it. In the rep- resentative quote below. . students were also largely able to recognize when and where to use active listening. making sure to keep eye contact and nodding along to assure him I was listening. Along with that. Practicing the techniques Goulston discussed. I took a deep breath and realized that I was not being told why I messed up. so that I understand the deed and why we needed what we did. Learning Objective 2: Recognize Contexts Where Active Listening Is Applicable and Use It in Situationally Appropriate Ways. . and she would get angry with me. .

After this experience ended so well. By simply giving feedback and keeping constant eye contact with my brother. it is imperative that we use all of our tools to do thorough reviews of departments. It has given me the ability to get information that is critical to the success of my audits that I might not have otherwise obtained. I told her I understood why she was upset and paraphrased everything she told me so I knew I had heard everything correctly. I was looking at her and using acknowledgement responses. students conveyed concrete plans to con- tinue developing their skills. where they used it. It also allows the person to see that people do listen and can sympathize with the situation. Learning Objective 3: Identify Ways of. I will continue to make a conscious effort to ensure I am engaging in active listening. I was nodding my head while she was telling me what was going on so she knew all my attention was on her and I was actively listening. Students knew what . I realized that actively listening isn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. As the combination of quantitative and qualitative results reviewed above illustrate.As I continue to engage in more client interviews. “How may I assist you today?” and she began to tell me how she lost her card and someone had been using it. Since our audits are limited on time. along with some confidence and enthusiasm for doing so. I then offered to help with the problem and put a hold on the card immediately. it really did make a huge difference to him. I asked her what I ask every customer.Spataro and Bloch 15 Still another student described using active listening in a customer service situation: One specific example is when I was working. and how much they have spent. I’m a teller at [a bank] and just last week I was about to assist a customer and I could tell she was angry by her nonverbal communication.  When looking toward using active listening in the future. She was frowning with her arms crossed. I feel more comfortable and confident when dealing with frustrated members. Using and Con- tinuing to Develop Active Listening Skills in the Future. When she was talking. Representative responses include the following: Listening is a vital component of communication. Active listening can help turn a negative situation into a more positive situation. I will continue to paraphrase speakers’ content in my personal life and (future) workplace. This is proven to provide better results in my meetings. we found the strategies advanced in this article to be effective in realizing the learning objectives we set for this method. After she was done. As such. and Feel Confident About.

2007). 2010. Nonetheless. we designed. & Konopaske. and they articulated plans for applying it in both their work and personal lives. combined with qualitative comments from students addressing the designated learning objectives for the method. yet developing speaking skills is emphasized more than developing listening skills. Yet instruction on active listening is lacking in management edu- cation in both frequency and effectiveness. Some researchers have reported on strategies for teaching listening in management courses either as a separate topic (Pearce et al. Pre. 2009. networking (Friar & Eddleston. 1995) or as an element connected to other concepts. Given the importance of active listening in management education and the modern workplace. .and posttests of student perceptions of their own listen- ing skills. implemented. Gilbert. showed support for the plan’s effectiveness in students’ perceptions of their skill development.16 Journal of Management Education 00(0) active listening is and how and when to use it. the need for more integration of teaching listen- ing in management education is apparent. A key contribution of this article is that we offer a new perspective of com- munication in management education. The proce- dure and tools offered here for teaching active listening provide a method for helping students internalize and subsequently transfer active listening behav- iors into all aspects of their lives. for a summary of the variety of strategies used over time). McCambridge. & Gibson. as evidenced by research indicating its helpfulness to students in their academic pursuits as well as by publicized demands for better listening skills from hiring managers in many professions. 2011). active listening deserves additional pedagogical focus in management education. the most focus on listening instruction is found in commu- nication courses (see Janusik. 2003). one that includes active listening. instruction in communica- tion tends to emphasize speaking over listening. Ferris. and forming and evaluating perceptions of others (Chavez. coaching (Hunt & Weintraub.. 2004). As a skill that can be taught. 2002. Listening and speaking are vital to successful discourse. even though listening is a critical component of effective communication. Discussion Active listening is an immensely valuable skill. In doing so. Our research takes a step in this direction by offering a method of teaching listening in management classes that helps students learn the tactics of active listening and also appreciate its value. Currently. we broaden the scope of when and how active listening can and should be taught. In fact. such as facilitating productive dialogue (Ivancevich. and tested the effectiveness of a method for teaching active listening.

. we provide the materials for management educators to use and reference in their courses with little additional planning or preparation required. We specify learning objectives for developing the skill of active listening and offer the outline of a plan for assessing them. For example. Moreover. First. the increased moti- vation and interest generated by video interacts with other pedagogical tech- niques to enhance students’ comprehension and long-term retention of the material (Berk. instructors who adopt this method in online settings can look for more opportunities to provide support and ongoing contact with students. hybrid. face-to-face interaction with stu- dents to exercise and develop listening skills in all areas of the course con- tent. the method introduced here works on multiple platforms. Additionally. (1995) used regular. Our experience is that as long as each . Too often. 1990). we detail the steps to use this method in online courses. Thus. we rely on amorphous criteria to find evidence of progress. The in-person scaffolding recommended for teach- ing active listening in face-to-face classes (Pearce et al. In fact. consistent with the findings of dual-coding theory (Paivio. Dual-coding theory holds that visual imagery together with verbal associations helps students build on their learning. 1995) can be repli- cated through online feedback. Our method was designed to work across class platforms.Spataro and Bloch 17 Furthermore. we demonstrate that the online platform is not an impediment to teaching interpersonal skills. The learning objectives presented here can be a foundation to support further design of instructional materials to teach active listening. the method introduced here benefits from offering a multimedia approach. with interpersonal skills. 2009). Many of the recommended activities for teaching active listening are designed only for face-to-face classes. The method advanced here sets out a framework for further design and assessment of active listening skills. Additionally. they can be translated into a rubric (see Appendix E) to provide rigorous feedback on skill development where desired. and we demonstrate its effectiveness in online classes. including face-to-face. The online platform allows students to take in the skill-based learning at their own pace and in a comfortable environment. Pace and timing of exercises designed to help students internalize the material and aid in skill transfer are similarly under their own control. rather. Second. and online settings. it presents great opportunity. We also find that most students simply enjoy the video clips! Implications There are multiple implications of the work presented here. Pearce et al.

graduate. Nonetheless. and providing a written summary that highlights main points and clari- fies culturally specific references. Instructors need to take note that necessary accommodations for visu- ally or hearing-impaired or ESL students are the same with this material as for all other teaching content.18 Journal of Management Education 00(0) exercise distinctly advances learning objectives. as they were from a popular cul- ture American television show. Third. the method seemed equally successful in undergraduate. The MBA class size of 19 was too small of a sample to examine and report here as part of the empirical test. That is. These include posting the video online (even if it is offered primarily in class) so students can review it as many times as they wish. reading articles. A fourth implication of this work is that multimedia approaches are very useful to teach skill-based concepts. the method described here is versatile with regard to platform and type of student. they also stimulate . Launching an effort to develop a new skill requires deliberate action. Although we examined our method rigorously in undergradu- ate online classes. but we found the method operated consistently with how it did in the undergraduate courses. thereby. the multimedia approach introduces complica- tions. and online sessions. we did not find any patterns to this variation. and watching videos. The stimulation to both sides of their brains in this process enhances their learning. Finally. student-driven applica- tion of new skills and reflection on these activities as part of the learning pro- cess aid in comprehension and eventual transfer of learning. In tackling the learning materials pre- sented in this method. This con- sistency is representative of our overall experience with the exercise. we have also used the method in an online module of a hybrid MBA class. And vulnerability to bias in interpretation is likely greater with the video clips we used. based on our experience. Exercises that involve active. We also did not see patterns in student success by student discipline or interest area. students will be more successful using this method if they are engaged in the exercise. including captions of what is spoken on the video. students are clicking on websites. anecdotally from our experience. students have to want to see the change in themselves and be willing to devote the effort to fully understand what to do and why it is important. face-to-face. and. Students were able to successfully translate the abstract rules of using the skill to situations in their current work and personal lives as well as to their future plans. Fee and Budde-Sung (2014) found some helpful steps that instructors in this position can take. more exercises and feed- back is better. their opportunities to—and the likeli- hood that they will—transfer the concept into management environments. While we naturally recognized variation in individual student success with the experience across different courses and student populations.

While we have used this method as an online module. First. But the students included in our sample came from different majors and years. our quantitative assessment relies on student self-reports and could suffer from common source bias. Conclusion Listening is a critical part of communication. Third. Finally. and more opportunities for skill application. alternative instruments or meth- ods of assessing listening could be introduced to extend this work and poten- tially build on the suggested method. However. it would be useful to extend this work with direct examination of its use in a face-to-face context. The method. Still. other online sources. the method presented here is offered as a stand-alone module for use in many different types of courses. and even other video clips could be useful. tools. but we are also aware that pop culture sources can have shelf-lives and more current sources may be available and just as useful. Our expectation is that the face-to-face con- tact would only enhance the learning experience with more interaction. Furthermore. Second. more feedback.Spataro and Bloch 19 motivation to continue to develop and apply the skill going forward. we did not test this method in a fully face-to-face class setting. the perceived improvement indicated in these quantitative results fits with our personal observations of students’ development. integrating the skill across a curriculum and embedding it into the culture of the learning environment would bolster its effectiveness (Bloch & Spataro. Other textbook write-ups. Limitations and Opportunities for Further Development The method and our examination of it presented here leave room for enhance- ment. We have been using the materials presented here because of the success we have experienced with them. so we have no reason to expect the sample is biased in any way. Another opportunity to extend this method comes in the learning materials themselves. and analyses presented here demonstrate how focusing on both sides of the communica- tion exchange—both presentation and intake of information—will enhance . our sample came from one university. As with any skill development. but the work here rein- forces what is already known about the value of opportunities for students to bring classroom concepts into their own lives as catalysts for learning. students had no incentive to bias their responses in the assessments as these were not graded or evalu- ated by the instructor other than for completion. 2014). which could limit generalizability. Engaging students through active learning is not a new concept.

Often c. Almost never 8. I listen to the complete message before making judgments about what the speaker has said. Almost always b. Often c. I keep control of my biases and attitudes when listening to others speak so that these factors won’t affect my interpretation of the message. Often c. Almost always b. I do not listen at my capacity when others are talking. Almost never 7. Almost never 4. Sometimes d. Almost always b. Sometimes d. Active listening is a skill that brings necessary balance to the communication exchange and therefore warrants direct attention and creative approaches in our teaching. Almost never 2. Sometimes d. I can guess a speaker’s intent or purpose without being told. a. Almost always b. Almost never 5. Click on the appropriate responses. Sometimes d. I have a purpose for listening when others are talking. Seldom e. By listening. Almost always b. a. Sometimes d. a. Seldom e. I analyze my listening errors so as not to make them again. a. Often c. a. Seldom e. Seldom e. I want to listen to what others have to say when they are talking. Sometimes d. I cannot tell when a speaker’s biases or attitudes are affecting his or her message. Almost never 3. 1. Seldom e. Often c. Often c. a. Almost never 6. Seldom e. Often c. a. Sometimes d. a. Almost always b. Seldom e. Often c. Sometimes d. Almost never . Almost always b.20 Journal of Management Education 00(0) management communication skills in ways that are appealing to both schools and employers. Please be candid. Appendix A Listening Styles Inventory The following items relate to your listening style. Almost always b. Seldom e.

Almost never 10. a. The scores indicating styles are approxima- tions and should be regarded as such. bored. Such factors may be either internally or externally derived. although this may be intermittent. which is usually evidenced by an alert posture or stance and much direct eye contact. or objec- tives. disinterested. Almost always b. Sometimes d.Spataro and Bloch 21 9. Detached (0-27). The passive listener seldom expends any noticeable energy in receiving and interpreting messages. Sometimes d. Often c. I ask questions when I don’t fully understand a speaker’s message. The detached listener is usually inattentive. The listening inventory gives a general idea of preferred listening style.  The active listener gives full attention to listening when others are talking and focuses on what is being said. and may be restless. While assuming that the responsibility for the success of the com- munication is the speaker’s. Often c. intentions. Seldom e. Almost always b. a. The involved lis- tener practices some direct eye contact and may have alert posture or stance. I am aware of whether or not a speaker’s meaning of words and con- cepts is the same as mine. although atten- tion may be faked at times. This person expends a lot of energy participating in the speaking–listening exchange. Notes. Passive (28-37).  The detached listener withdraws from the speaking–listen- ing exchange and becomes the object of the speaker’s message rather than its receiver. this listener is usually attentive.  The involved listener gives most of his or her attention to the speaker’s words and intentions.  The questionnaire has two questions that are reversely ordered. This person’s noticeable lack of enthu- siasm may be marked by slumped or very relaxed posture and avoidance of direct eye contact. A person may change listening style when responding to a given situation or their interests. Seldom e. or easily distracted. This person reflects on the message to a degree and participates in the speaking–listening exchange. Almost never Interpretation (LSI) Active (45-50). how a person views themselves. Involved (38-44). The passive listener receives information as though being talked to rather than as being an equal partner in the speaking–listening exchange. What that means is that all questions are graded on a scale of 5 (almost always) to 1 .

. 3. Most of the time c. 2. Almost never e. No b.1177/1050651902238546. Then read the explanation about scoring at the end of the exercise. Except Questions 2 and 8. Assessment of the listening styles inventory: Progress in establishing reli- ability and validity. G. 17. 1. which are graded just the opposite 1 (almost always) and 5 (almost never). The number is assigned to each of the 10 questions depending on the choice selected 5. R. & Barker. Yes e. I. (2003). Sometimes c. 1. Do you use this excess time to turn your thoughts elsewhere while you are keeping track of the conversation? a. Usually . 4. Journal of Business and Technical Communication. Do you generally talk more than listen in an interchange with some- one else? a. Usually d. T.22 Journal of Management Education 00(0) (almost never). C.. Read each question carefully and choose one of the five answers listed. Not as much as I should d. 84-113. Appendix B Listening Self-Inventory This exercise is designed to help you review and describe your typical listen- ing style. Johnson. W. Sometimes c. No b. Used with permission. Adapted from Pearce. The total points that a person achieves is the compared with the chart that describes their listening style. Don’t know/unaware 3. The individual score is simply added up—total of 50 points. Don’t know/unaware 2. doi:10. Do you listen for the feelings behind facts when someone is speaking? a. Research suggests that you think four times faster than a person usu- ally talks to you. Almost always b.

Often d. Don’t know/unaware 5. Do you deliberately turn your thoughts to other subjects when you believe a speaker will have nothing particularly interesting to say? a. Sometimes c. do you go out of your way to avoid hearing about it? a. If you feel that it would take a lot of time and effort to understand something. Sometimes c. Often . do you try to get the question straightened out immediately. either in your own mind or by interrupting the speaker? a. do you try to make him/her think you’re paying attention when you are not? a. Usually d. Yes e. Often d. Seldom b. No b. No b. Sometimes c. Sometimes c. Very frequently e.Spataro and Bloch 23 d. Yes e. Do emotions interfere with your listening? a. Don’t know/unaware 8. Seldom b. Usually d. Don’t know/unaware 4. When you are puzzled or annoyed by what someone says. Don’t know/unaware 6. When someone is talking to you. Yes e. Don’t know/unaware 7. Seldom b. Sometimes c. Very frequently e.

Not as much as I should d. Amherst. do you make a conscious effort to make and keep ye contact with the speaker? a. Most of the time c. Seldom b. Listening self-inventory.. Don’t know/unaware 10. If most answers were (c).24 Journal of Management Education 00(0) d. S. do you make a greater effort to concentrate on what the person is saying? a.  If most of your answers were (a) or (b) you probably possess good listening skills and the ability to concentrate and to recognize the speaker’s emotions. Almost never e. though you may intend to take exception to something later on? a. Not as much as I should d. Do you listen carefully to the opinions of others. Don’t know/unaware 9. From Lambert. Almost never e. Don’t know/unaware 12. Used with permission. or (e). Almost always b. Not as much as I should d. Often d. Almost always b. Most of the time c. Don’t know/unaware Scoring. Almost always b. (d). When you are listening to someone. (1994). Most of the time c. & Myers. Very frequently e. are you easily sidetracked by outside distractions (people and events)? a. you need to develop these characteristics more fully. 127-128). Almost never e. . When you are listening to someone speak. Sometimes c. When listening to someone who speaks with an accent. MA: HRD Press. Very frequently e. Don’t know/unaware 11. In 50 activities for diversity training (pp. J.

“Active Listening in a Job Interview” (Menzel.mindtools. They then decide to attend a par- enting class. “How to Listen When Your Communication Styles Don’t Match” (Goulston. 2013. This article sum- marizes a young retail manager’s experience with the importance of active listening. 2008): Harvard Business Review. . Retrieved from https://hbr. 30. 2016): https://www. which includes a short video. Harvard Business Review.S. Throughout the episode. They try using threats and punishment. “Active Listening—Hearing What People Are Really Saying” (Mindtools. Episode 2)—see Appendix D for details. The scenes that deal most specifically with active listening are described below. television series: clips from “Father Knows Least” (Season 2. htm. 86(11). along with the time markings in the episode on the DVD. Appendix D Description of Everybody Loves Raymond Clips From “Father Knows Least” (Season 2.org/2008/11/the-best- advice-i-ever-got-maureen-chiquet-global-ceo-chanel. but nothing works. about what com- prises active listening.org/2013/10/how-to-listen-when-your-communication-styles- dont-match. Raymond and Debra are shown strug- gling to employ active listening. 2010): Retrieved from https://brittanymenzel. com. but also demonstrating how effective it can be when it is successful. This is a brief article. indicating how challenging it can be. Retrieved from https://hbr.com/2010/05/05/active-listening-in-a- job-interview/. Episode 2) The beginning of the episode shows Raymond and his wife Debra having trouble getting their 6-year-old daughter Allie to behave.wordpress.Spataro and Bloch 25 Appendix C Active Listening Materials “The Best Advice I Ever Got” (Chiquet. This article talks about how to actively listen to people with different communication styles. This is a college student’s blog post discussing applica- tions of active listening in a job interview. Everybody Loves Raymond U. October 9).com/CommSkll/ActiveListening.

while Raymond struggles to get her to agree to attend a fam- ily event. who has just destroyed a toy belonging to one of her baby brothers. Raymond is proud to see that he has again successfully resolved a situation using active listening (Schneider & Lessac. The instructor then introduces the concept of active listening and engages Raymond in a role-playing exercise. and Allie offers to try to fix the toy. Raymond is astounded to see active listening work. and it was given away without her permission. This scene shows Raymond fulfilling his assignment by employing active listening strat- egies with his parents to resolve an argument they are having about how they treat each other. she calms down and agrees. Raymond and Debra acknowledge this was a mistake on their part. the instructor plays the role of the stubborn daughter. as Allie explains that she is feeling ignored because the toy was once hers. 1997).26 Journal of Management Education 00(0) •• Role-playing active listening in a parenting class (7:00-11:00). Raymond encourages Debra to try active listening strategies. . During their first session of the parenting class. •• Using active listening with adults (14:40-18:05). and ultimately Raymond inter- venes and again experiences success with active listening. Raymond and Debra describe the problems they are having with their daughter. •• Using active listening with a child (18:20-20:25). The instructor then assigns Debra and Raymond to practice active listening outside of class. Raymond goes home and walks into an argument Debra is having with their 6-year-old daughter Allie. Reluctantly. Raymond helps them better understand that they need to show more appreciation for each other. By prompting both of his parents to explain how they feel. asking Allie questions while Raymond coaches. Debra struggles. Immediately after his success with his parents.

 Identify ways of. Appendix E Rubric for Scoring Active Listening Exercises. Recognize contexts Clearly identifies Identifies both an Identifies either an Fails to identify either where active listening is a context where applicable context applicable context or an applicable context applicable and use it in active listening and an appropriate an appropriate use of or an appropriate use situationally appropriate is applicable and use—lacks some active listening. Describe specific Clearly identifies Adequate reference Vague reference to Fails to identify an behaviors that comprise active listening to active listening an active listening active listening active listening. Learning objective Excellent—4 Good—3 Fair—2 Unacceptable—1 1. and Clearly identifies Identifies use of Makes vague reference Fails to identify feel confident about. but of active listening ways. use of active active listening to using active ways for using and using and continuing to listening in work in work/personal listening in the continuing to develop develop active listening or personal life in life—lacks some future—but with few active listening skills skills in the future. describes its detail or clarity not both appropriate use 3. the future detail or clarity specifics in the future 27 . strategies from strategies from the strategy strategy the assigned assigned materials materials 2.

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