Date of Award

4-2009

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Communication

First Advisor

Dr. Steve Rhodes

Second Advisor

Dr. Julie Apker

Third Advisor

Dr. Autumn Edwards

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

This master's thesis study explores the relationship between manager listening skills and subordinate perceptions of manager credibility along the constructs of competence, credibility, and caring within the organizational context. Listening effectiveness is a significant dimension of overall communication effectiveness. Communication effectiveness, in turn, is a central component of managerial effectiveness, one that corporate executives have noted as indispensable for more than 40 years. Significant support was found for the hypothesis that managers who are perceived as good listeners will be perceived as credible by their subordinates.

Listening, for the purposes of the study, is defined as the process of receiving; constructing meaning from, and responding to spoken and/or nonverbal messages. Credibility is conceptualized as consisting of three communicative characteristics: competence, character (trustworthiness) and caring (or goodwill). Using a post-test only experimental design, 219 participants read one of two experimental condition scripts; a script in which the manager exhibits high listening skills, or low listening skills. Participants then completed measurements of the perceived credibility of the manager. Significant support was found for the hypothesis that managers who are perceived as good listeners will be perceived as credible by their subordinates.

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