Stop Using Management Buzzwords

30 June 2008 at 5:33 pm 7 comments

| Peter Klein |

That’s the command to town and village officials from Britain’s Local Government Association, which urges its members to dump trite words and phrases like core values, evidence base, facilitate, fast-track, holistic, level playing field, process driven, quick hit, and my personal favorite, predictors of beaconicity (no idea what it means). Here’s the list, and here’s the CNN story (via Josh). From CNN:

The list includes the popular but vague term “empowerment;” “coterminosity,” a situation in which two organizations oversee the same geographical area; and “synergies,” combinations in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

Officials were told to ditch the term “revenue stream” for income, as well as the imprecise “sustainable communities.” The association also said councils should stop referring to local residents as “customers” or “stakeholders.”

The association’s chairman, Simon Milton, said officials should not “hide behind impenetrable jargon and phrases.”

Business-school educators, please take note!

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Jargon Watch, Management Theory, Teaching.

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. C. Grammich  |  1 July 2008 at 7:20 am

    I’m surprised “robust” and “win-win” aren’t on the list.

  • 2. Eric D. Brown  |  1 July 2008 at 7:50 am

    “predictors of beaconicity” is a great one….never heard it before and now need to add it to my buzzword bingo card. :)

    Reminds me of the Dilbert Mission Statement Generator (DMSG). A sample mission statement from the DMSG:

    Our mission is to proactively initiate business intellectual capital as well as to seamlessly simplify economically sound catalysts for change for 100% customer satisfaction

  • 3. Matt C.  |  1 July 2008 at 8:22 am

    My favorite is “bandwidth”. This of course does not in any way mean the IT term for the amount of space available on the ISP lines coming into the business. But, rather, the workload of an individual.

    For example, one might say, ” Let me check my bandwidth to see if I can handle that project.”

  • 4. luke  |  1 July 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Matt: I catch myself using that one all the time.

    The one that makes me giggle is “offline”, as in: “Let’s continue this discussion off-line”.

    It’s used in conference presentations, seminars, job talks, etc., and seems to mean something like, “let’s discuss your devastating and completely on-point critique of my research in the hallway, where my colleagues can’t witness my humiliation.”

  • 5. srp  |  2 July 2008 at 4:51 am

    I’ve been known to warn students to avoid “buzzword bingo” and Dilbertese on their assignments and exams. They laugh, but some of them do it anyway.

  • 6. Tejvan Pettinger  |  2 July 2008 at 11:11 am

    It makes me smile to read this list of words; it surprising how much their use has slipped into general conversation.

  • 7. Matt C.  |  3 July 2008 at 8:49 am

    I say keep on using “offline.” It’s much better than saying, “Hey buddy, shut the heck up and talk to me outside about this.”

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