While there is a rich literature on listening in interpersonal settings, studies of organizational listening have been comparatively scarce. A growing body of recent research, however, underscores the importance of how effectively (or poorly) organizations listen and attempt to respond to their respective publics and external stakeholders.
This paper describes research focusing on organizational practices and effectiveness related to capturing, analyzing, disseminating, and utilizing the “Voice of the Consumer (VoC).” After reviewing literature regarding factors that may shape and influence VoC program effectiveness, the paper describes a two-phased program of research aimed at (a) identifying specific characteristics and practices that can/should be used to describe VoC programs and (b) assessing the current state of VoC programs with respect to overall effectiveness, and in relation to the preceding specific characteristics and practices. Results reveal that a majority of organizations have not yet achieved a desired level of VoC program effectiveness, and that most are better at capturing consumer feedback than they are at analyzing, disseminating, or utilizing it to improve products, services, and consumer experiences. Implications for theory-building and knowledge development, along with practical implications for organizational planning and management, are discussed.