Listening to noise. An investigation at the Tax Authorities into communication as stress reduction

Wednesday 8 February 2023, 12:30 pm
H.J.M. van Rooij
prof. dr. M.N.C. Aarts
dr. M.G.J. van Wessel

Government organisations make tensions manageable with strategic language. Communication professionals play an important role in this context by helping administrators de-problematise situations. However, linguistic solutions also create new problems, such as unprocessed issues and collective blind spots. Instead of hiding dilemmas and tensions, the government should encourage discussion around them. Listening is the key word here. 

In his PhD thesis, entitled ‘Luisteren naar ruis’ (Listening to noise), Harrie van Rooij analyses the role of communication and language in government organisations. Organisations are largely made up of communication: think of meetings, discussions, writing memos, emails, presentations, and having coffee with colleagues. Van Rooij believes that it is important to devote more attention to exploring what happens at such moments. 

Harrie van Rooij was born in Veghel in 1970. He attended the Gymnasium Beekvliet in Sint-Michielsgestel and studied Business Communication at Radboud University and Philosophy at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. His graduate thesis in Philosophy, entitled ‘Slow Knowledge’, explored the relationship between speech and existence. He went on to specialise in government communication. He worked at the Ministry of Finance, the Academy for Government Communication and the Dutch Tax Administration, developing methods and strategies for making public organisations more communicative. Based on his experiences, he published, among others, the book Stop met communiceren (Stop Communicating). He now works as a consultant and trainer.