Recommended reading: ‘Business Bullshit’ by André Spicer! The trap of empty business jargon and unnecessary concepts

‘Our organizations are flooded with empty talk. We are constantly « going forward » to lands of « deliverables, » stopping off on the « journey » to « drill down » into « best practice. » Being an expert at using management speak has become more important in corporate life than delivering long lasting results. The upshot is that meaningless corporate jargon is killing our organizations. In this book, management scholar Andre Spicer argues we need to call this empty talk what it is: bullshit. The book looks at how organizations have become vast machines for manufacturing, distributing and consuming bullshit. It follows how the meaningless language of management has spread through schools, NGOs, politics and the media. Business Bullshit shows you how to spot business bullshit, considers why it is so popular, and outlines the impact it has on organizations and the people who work there. It also outlines what we can do to minimise bullshit at work. The author makes a case for why organizations need to avoid empty talk and reconnect with core activities. This provocative, lucid book is essential reading for professionals, researchers and managers.’

 

This great book reminds me Franck Lepage critical work about the manufacturing of positive words to hide the corporate agenda. A brilliant mind who is quite critical about how the business world perverts the vocabulary and creates an Orwellian positive terminology and impeaches us from focusing on the essential. Other french authors addressed this approach like Eric Hazan with his ground breaking book LQR, we have also the great book the empire of good (l’empire du bien) written by Phlippe Muray, and also the extensive work of the french sociologist Luc Boltanski about how the word hierarchy disappeared from the management books in the last 20 years and was replaced by consensual words like cooperation, participation, projects, etc… So do we live in a world where hierarchy doesn’t exist anymore? No! but it’s not in the ‘Zeitgeist’ to make people think about it. The perception is more important than reality and everything starts with the building blocks of our ideas (i.e: our words)! You can find here a list of all these great books: 

Spicer, A. (2017). Business bullshit. Routledge.

Hazan, É. (2006). LQR: la propagande du quotidien. Raisons d’agir.

Muray, P. (1991). L’empire du bien. Belles lettres.

Boltanski, L., & Chiapello, E. (2005). The new spirit of capitalism. International journal of politics, culture, and society, 18(3-4), 161-188.

YB

 

The humorist version of it in french and english! Time to stop the conceptual inflation and focus on methods and a concise vocabulary!

2 commentaires to “Recommended reading: ‘Business Bullshit’ by André Spicer! The trap of empty business jargon and unnecessary concepts”

  1. You might find my paper on workplace bullshit interesting. It outlines a C.R.A.P. framework for Comprehending, Recognizing, Acting on and Preventing the creation and flow of bullshit in organizations. The same ideas could apply to stemming the creation and flow of bullshit in communities and society in general.

    See attached and here: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bushor.2020.01.001

    Let me know if you would like a copy.
    Ian

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