Monday, November 06, 2006

Jargon gets workers' ducks out of row

A survey by Investors in People* and reported here on the BBC website reveals that office workers feel baffled and irritated by the jargon their managers use. According to the article, expressions such as blue sky thinking and brain dump don't clearly communicate ideas and cause frustration.

So what is jargon and why does it annoy people so much? Wikipedia defines it as:
Jargon is terminology, much like slang, that relates to a specific activity, profession, or group. It develops as a kind of shorthand, to express ideas that are frequently discussed between members of a group, and also to distinguish those belonging to a group from those who are not.
One of the problems with office jargon is that it often appears to take the place of straightforward clear communication. Another problem is that it is used by some to indicate their "in the know" status and exclude others. Some argue that it's just silly and gets made up by managers with too much time on their hands.

But in the end, like slang, jargon is part of language change in action; it reflects the industry it comes from. So, out go words and phrases to do with actually making things (because we don't really do that anymore in the UK - we get all our products from China and Bangladesh) and in come words and phrases to do with the "creative industries", which are all about selling ideas and business models to other companies.

Useful for:
ENA5 - Language Change

*Investors in People is the government body that awards tacky little plaques to any organisation that "invests in its people", whatever that means: Burger King, Cash Converters in Walthamstow and err...SFX all have them on proud display - go figure.

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