2020 Call for Grant Proposals

The Arthur W. Page Center at Penn State's Bellisario College of Communications has announced its annual Page/Johnson Legacy Scholar competition for the study of integrity in public communication. This year, the Center is issuing a call for research proposals that will examine Organizational Listening

The Center will award the 2020 grants to support scholars and professionals making important contributions to knowledge, practice or public understanding of ethics and responsibility in public communication. The intent of the program is to foster a modern understanding and application of principles practiced in communications, such as the Page Principles, and organizational value statements, such as the Johnson & Johnson Credo. The Center accomplishes this goal by supporting innovative research and educational or public service projects in a wide variety of academic disciplines and professional fields.

Senior research fellow and associate professor at Quinnipiac University Katie R. Place is leading the call. If you have questions, please contact Place at katie.place@quinnipiac.edu.

The Call: Organizational Listening                                                             Submit to Page Center Proposals

The Page Principle “Listen to Stakeholders” calls for public communicators to listen effectively and engage a diverse range of stakeholders through inclusive dialogue.

Page Principle #4: Listen to stakeholders
To serve the enterprise well, understand what the public wants and needs and advocate for engagement with all stakeholders. Keep top decision makers and other employees informed about stakeholder reaction to the enterprise’s products, policies and practices. To listen effectively, engage a diverse range of stakeholders through inclusive dialogue.

Despite its status as a Page Principle, listening has received little explicit attention in public relations or public communications research. Moreover, according to Brunner’s 2008 study, listening is perceived as essential to effective business and communication practice. However, it has traditionally been theorized as a function of interpersonal communication, human resources, education or counseling, according to Macnamara (2018).

Previous theoretical research by Botan (1997, 2018), Botan and Taylor (2004) and Kent and Taylor (1998, 2002) has explored concepts complementary to the process of organizational listening. Concepts include dialogue, relationship building, mutual understanding. Most recently, research has focused on considering publics as equals in the communication process and the fostering of a culture of, what Macnamara (2018) has coined, an architecture of listening. Organizational listening can be characterized as two-way communications to build relationships and position organizations to meet the needs of stakeholders.

In the spirit of an organization’s moral responsibility to listen to stakeholders, this Page Center research call seeks original research to further develop our understanding of listening in public communication, including, but not limited to studies addressing:

► Moral and ethical implications of listening to stakeholders

► Listening and diverse or marginalized stakeholders

► Listening, stakeholders, and social or mobile media

► Listening and organization-public relationships with stakeholders

► Global practices or challenges regarding listening to stakeholder

► Listening and crisis or conflict resolution

► Listening and corporate purpose

► Internal communications and listening

► Organizational change in response to listening

► Case studies of listening to stakeholders in public communication contexts

All areas of listening will be considered, but studies focused particularly on theory development, organizational best practices, ethical implications, or listening for social change are especially encouraged. Research may focus on communications in the digital space or in legacy media.

Click here for guidelines on submitting your proposal.

Deadlines & notifications

► Application materials must be electronically submitted on or before Jan. 15, 2020.

► Scholars will be notified of the selection committee's decisions on March 15, 2020.

► Contracts for successful grants will be finalized by June 1, 2020.

► Scholars will present project idea and plan at the Page Center's annual research workshop meeting in early Aug. 2020. (Specific date TBD, but likely to be August 5, 2020 at AEJMC conference in San Francisco) See details below.*

► Final reports are due July 1, 2021.

► Scholars will present completed project and results at the Page Center's annual research workshop meeting in early Aug. 2021. (Specific date TBD)

*Research workshops. Scholar who are funded for the Organizational Listening call in 2020-2021 will be required to send at least one author to the Page Center research workshop at AEJMC in August 2020 and again in August 2021 to present their projects to a team of scholars and professionals. A travel stipend will be provided.


General questions about the Page/Johnson Legacy Scholar grants can be sent to PageCenter@psu.edu.

Submit to Page Center Proposals