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New book by Cass academic calls out management jargon

Meaningless corporate jargon is killing our organisations

by Amy Ripley (Senior Communications Officer)

Our organisations 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 creating long lasting results. The upshot is that meaningless corporate jargon is killing our organisations.

Business Bullsh*t (Routledge), a new book by Cass Business School management expert, Professor André Spicer, argues we need to call out this empty talk for what it is.  The book examines how organisations have become vast machines for manufacturing, distributing and consuming management jargon and follows how this meaningless language has spread through schools, NGOs, politics and the media.

The book shows you how to spot pointless business jargon, considers why it is so popular, and outlines the impact it has on organisations and the people who work there. It also suggests what we can do to minimise it at work, making a case for why organisations need to avoid empty talk and reconnect with core activities.

This provocative, lucid book is essential reading for professionals, researchers and managers.

Business Bullsh*t is published by Routledge. More details here.


Praise for Professor André Spicer

'We hear business bullsh*t all day. But few know how it started, where it comes from or what to do about it. Andre Spicer is funny and clever on the topic and we badly need his practical wisdom to win through.' — Margaret Heffernan

'Anybody familiar with corporate life will find this book extremely amusing—until realizing that it is dead serious. The battle against bullsh*t is one worth fighting, even if you lose it. Read Spicer’s book, and engage.' — Professor Martin Gargiulo, INSEAD

'We live in an age of rising panic surrounding the status of truth in our politics and society. In this brilliant polemic, Andre Spicer demonstrates that our economy has long tolerated empty sloganeering and meaningless jargon, making a small minority of gurus and consultants very rich, but leaving the vast majority of us with a sense of deep pointlessness.' — William Davies, Reader in Political Economy, Goldsmiths

Spicer is one of these rare business academics who really understands business but also manages to maintain a healthy distance. This enables him to hold up a mirror to managers as few people can. In an insightful and entertaining way, he exposes nonsense in the world of business -- of which there is plenty. However, what I liked best about the book is that he doesn't stop there: he also carefully explains why it persists in companies. This is important, because it enables managers who grasp his analysis to cut out the costly bullsh*t from their firms, improve their organisations in the process, and create a competitive advantage.' — Freek Vermeulen, Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, London Business School

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