Bullshit and Organization Studies

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Abstract

Bullshit is a ubiquitous communication practice that permeates many dimensions of organizational life. This essay outlines different understandings of bullshit and discusses their significance in the context of organization studies. While it is tempting to reject bullshit as corrosive to rational organizational practice, we argue that it is necessary to understand its organizational significance and performative nature more systematically. We outline different social functions of bullshit focusing on two particular types of managerial practices in which bullshit is likely to play a significant role: commanding and strategizing. On this backdrop, we consider bullshit in terms of the messages, senders and receivers involved, focusing especially on the dynamics between these dimensions in the context of organizations. The final part of this essay debates the reasons why bullshit, which is recognized by organizational members, is rarely called and rejected explicitly.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOrganization Studies
Volume40
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1587-1600
Number of pages14
ISSN0170-8406
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Published online: 25. January 2019

Keywords

  • Bullshit
  • Bullshit receptivity
  • Communication
  • Organization Studies

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