Bullshit and Organization Studies

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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.
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.
LanguageEnglish
JournalOrganization Studies
Number of pages14
ISSN0170-8406
DOIs
StatePublished - 25 Jan 2019

Bibliographical note

Epub ahead of print. Published online: 25. January 2019

Keywords

  • Bullshit
  • Bullshit receptivity
  • Communication
  • Organization Studies

Cite this

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title = "Bullshit and Organization Studies",
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.",
keywords = "Bullshit, Bullshit receptivity, Communication, Organization studies, Bullshit, Bullshit receptivity, Communication, Organization Studies",
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Bullshit and Organization Studies. / Christensen, Lars Thøger; Kärreman, Dan; Rasche, Andreas.

In: Organization Studies, 25.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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