The Vuslat Foundation and Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life
Date and location: July 16 (dinner) until July 18 (lunchtime), 2023 Tufts University in Medford, MA
Propose contributions here: https://easychair.org/cfp/GLO23
Practicalities: We invite proposals on the theme of “Generous Listening in Organizations.” Proposals of up to 500 words are due on March 24, 2023. Draft materials based on accepted proposals will be due on July 3, 2023. Authors will be expected to read all the materials in advance and be prepared to discuss them at a symposium in Boston in July 2023. We will accept proposals for articles (defined as 7 pages or longer), shorter written briefs, posters, or exercises/experiments that can be piloted during the symposium. The content of proposed contributions may include new research findings, reviews of specific bodies of existing research, conceptual arguments, descriptions of interventions, empirical measures, and/or plans for new research. We will not accept previously published work.How to publish and disseminate these materials will be discussed during the conference. Whether a given contribution is included in any publication or public-facing website will be a joint decision by the Vuslat Foundation and the author.
Vuslat Foundation offers to pay travel expenses. Participants who offer articles (or comparable contributions in other formats) will be eligible for honoraria of $1,200. Those who offer briefs and other shorter contributions will not receive honoraria.
Background and Topic: We define “generous listening” as the skill of listening to oneself, to one another, and to nature with generosity, which enhances human connection. Listening is defined broadly, as meaning more than hearing words. It engages both the heart and the mind. Generosity implies values like openness, courage, curiosity, and responsiveness. The phrase “generous listening” is not widely used in published literature, but it relates to ideas like attentive listening, empathetic communication, and others. The purpose of generous listening is to reach vuslat, the freedom reached by reuniting with those estranged parts of the bigger whole.
Generous listening occurs in all human contexts, including political processes, families, classrooms, psychotherapy, the arts, and religion. For the purpose of this symposium, the focus is generous listening in firms and other organizations that have employees and explicit missions. The focus encompasses listening between managers and subordinates, among colleagues, or between employees and outsiders, such as customers or clients.
We are interested in whether and how generous listening can be enhanced by improving the skills of individuals and/or creating and altering physical and digital spaces, norms, or policies. We are also interested in whether and how generous listening improves outcomes for the individuals who are directly involved and for their organizations. Among the possible questions that papers might address (as an illustrative and non-exhaustive list):
- What are the components and elements of generous listening, including its essential skills?
- What are the challenges and barriers to generous listening?
- How should generous listening culture be measured in organizations?
- Can people be evaluated as generous listeners? How?
- Are survey questions about generous listening valid and valuable?
- How does feeling listened-to affect individuals?
- Which tools/means for generous listening are used in organizations today?
- Can generous listening be learned? Is learning and teaching it necessary?
- Does generous listening promote desirable processes within organizations, such as effective, inclusive, and innovative collaboration, communication, decision-making, and/or teamwork?
- How can organizations institutionalize generous listening at scale?
- Does generous listening relate to outcomes for organizations, such as employees’ satisfaction and retention and the organization’s strength and results and/or impact?
- Peter Levine, the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Lincoln Filene Professor of Citizenship & Public Affairs in Tufts University’s Jonathan Tisch College of Civic Life
- Dr. Çagri Hakan Zaman, the Director of MIT Virtual Experience Design Lab and a Lecturer in Design and Computation at the MIT Department of Architecture
- Lawrence Susskind, Ford Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning at MIT and the Director of the MIT Science Impact Collaborative
- Avi Kluger, professor of Organizational Behavior at School of Business at the Hebrew University
- Julia Minson, an Associate Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government
- Vuslat Dogan Sabanci, Founder, Vuslat Foundation
- Selçuk Sirin, Professor in the Department of Applied Psychology at New York University
About Vuslat Foundation
Vuslat Foundation is a global initiative that fosters a deeper appreciation of listening as the essential element of all our connections. Established in Switzerland in 2020, Vuslat Foundation partners with academia, civil society, and the private sector to generate knowledge and research, develop methodologies and tools and build awareness and inspiration on generous listening.
About Tisch College
Tufts University’s Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life is a leader in civic education and engagement that sets the standard for higher education’s role in advancing the greater good. Tisch College combines education, research, and practice to serve as a hub for students, faculty, and community members who are committed to civic engagement and to its ability to change the world for the better.