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These have reached deep inside research and teaching oriented institutions that once deserved the name university. One might call such Nordic-MIT-like hallucinations business bullshit. But this prevents us from understanding mechanisms behind such managerial absurdities. What is happening is the conversion of universities based on research and teaching into PR driven marketing institutions driven. Meanwhile, workers under managerialism are forced to adhere to an old feudal policy p.

Today, it is: when the great CEO passes by, the wise worker bows deeply and farts silently. All too often those at the receiving end of all this, i. In many standard management text books used in business schools, in crypto-academic articles on management and business, and perhaps even in books on business bullshit, workers are neglected disappear into thin air.

Workers are disregarded, discarded, and ideologically reframed. Just as standard management textbooks have replaced corporation with Orwellian Newspeak terms like organisation, and profits Oldspeak have been replaced with shareholder value Newspeak. We have seen an explosion of management mutating into managerialism.


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Originating from the Frenchman Jean Claude Marie Vincent de Gournay , bureau or office means a system of government in which most of the important decisions are taken by state officials, rather than by elected representatives. Rather, bureaucracy refers to public administration for the public, the state, and society good. What bureaucracy also does not imply is a self-serving management elite, narrowly focused on ROI return of investment and the real bottom line.

What also disappears is the ugly but also very historical truth about corporations and companies. These were bread- pane sharing mercenaries con and hired killers Klikauer , p.

Managing Bullshit (AUR 61 01)

Under what Spicer calls business bullshit language of organisations and bureaucracy, the harshness of the profit maxim disappears. Beyond that, business organisation and its ideological henchmen have heavily borrowed from democratic state institutions, supported by bureaucracies. Much of this is designed to create the appearance that lower level administrators are the problem — not those who govern them, i.

Very often, the opposite is the case. Far from workplace reality, business bullshit buzz words have a rather different task. They are not invented to be reflective of management and work. Instead, they are designed to support what ideology sets out to achieve, namely three things:.

Like in any Mafia court case, the most obvious, that what can no longer be denied, is freely admitted. Behind the admission, no further explanation, conceptualisation, theory or perhaps just an analysis is provided. It is carefully crafted passivism, determinism, and ultimately defeatism and not much more. A similar smokescreen is put up with this:. Still, some might tend to think that their jobs are indeed part of the list of bullshit jobs. Creating business bullshit and its language has never been the job of workers. It remains utterly the job of upper-level managers. There is next to no input by workers when such rules and regulations are created.

Still, they might be formulated using Spicer language of business bullshit, but they also determine the existence of what is euphemistically called subordinates or underlings. Eliminating the worker-management relationship also means that our attention is directed away from those who regulated the working lives of millions.

Perhaps for ideological reasons — sustaining capitalism protecting management, etc. Still, these govern us — those who need to work.

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And indeed, corporations, companies, business and even business schools love deregulation as it takes the state out of the equation. Taking out the regulative capacity of the state means opening up an unregulated space. This allows managers to re-regulate such spaces. As a consequence, we find incidents of macho-management. Just as the old saying goes: Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.

For example, there is the top-down engineering of corporate bullshit policies, KPIs, mission statements and so on. This has often negative consequences for workers. This acts as a double-edged sword for the workers in the form of bullshit time:. Beyond that many workers complain about the stratospheric increase of sitting in often useless meetings.

The sheer endless number of internet-transmitted jokes about meetings tells one as much. Worse, some workers are annually forced into applying for their own jobs. Being hooked on managerialism often means being hooked on the systemic and structural casualisation of the workforce often camouflaged as being part of strategic management and being flexible.

Beyond that, it legitimises upper management as they organise the entire recruitment and selection process from analysing jobs, positioning job descriptions and advertising the position to creating short-lists and holding actual job interviews. Watson, It is done to feed the upper-management apparatus legitimising its existence as many of these activities e.

Instead, they are quintessential for the acceptability of upper-management and the controlling rules it has established. This sheet of paper might appear to be business bullshit. This is what Spicer would call business bullshit. This is a line invented and handed out by upper management. Many workers no longer really partake in management bullshit.

The Bullshit-Job Boom | The New Yorker

And this remains so irrespective of Working with the Corporate Psychopath Klikauer, b or not. As Spicer returns to the theme of universities and business schools, managerialism and business bullshit have also become embedded in universities and business schools. In the world of an astute critic of managerialism, Don Watson , p. Apart from this, the very same ideology conveniently obscures the fact that huge chunks of our lives are excluded from democracy: our educational systems, our schools, and of course our workplaces.

Terms resembling workplace democracy and industrial democracy have been extinct. Books suggests industrial democracy has become severely eroded since the s. It has effectively been eliminated from the public domain and even more so from academia. Industrial democracy is no longer taught at universities. This is an activity spiced up with the eternally performed treadmill of business restructuring. Meanwhile, according to Spicer. Buying a new pan or food processor also will not help. Even refurbishing the kitchen will not result in a great meal.

It takes research, insight and craftsmanship. The same goes for business. If you want to improve your business, the latest marketing conversion machine will not help, nor will a new website, a great direct marketing approach or a CRM system. And guts. This line of thinking can be seen in more and more literature and I want to highlight two books that proof this point. Understand that the devil is in the details. Confronted with your daily issues and complexity of interdependencies and uncertainty, the essence of the strategy is easily forgotten. You just want to get rid of the noise and make your world simple again.

Content curators, creatives—these and other intermediary non-roles crop up in everything from journalism to art.


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  4. Hollywood is notoriously mired in development, an endeavor that Graeber believes to be almost pure bullshit. The epidemiology of the problem—how and why things got this way—is pretty blurry, too. Graber believes that bullshit helps explain why certain large-scale economic predictions have been wrong. In a famous essay drafted in , John Maynard Keynes projected that, a century on, technological efficiency in Europe and in the U.

    Maybe, Keynes wrote, they could plan to retain three hours of work a day, just to feel useful. Here we are nearly in , and technology has indeed produced dazzling efficiencies. As Keynes anticipated, too, the number of jobs in agriculture, manufacturing, and mining has plummeted.


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    Yet employment in other fields—management, service—grows, and people still spend their lives working to finance basic stuff. Graeber blames, in part, the jobs we have.

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    The spoils of prosperity are fed back into the system to fund new and, perhaps, functionally unnecessary jobs. That is strange. Market competition is supposed to slough off inefficiencies and waste. Some argue that bullshit jobs only look bullshitty; in truth, they are disaggregated, the white-collar version of the guy on the factory floor who makes a single metal rivet for an airplane.

    The field he knows best, academia, had as much of a staffing explosion as any, and yet the work of teaching and research is no more complex or scaled-up than it was decades ago. The hordes of new employees must be doing something else. Why do people employ doormen? Left to their own devices, Graeber points out, people tend to do work like students at exam time, alternately cramming and slacking. Possibly, they work this way because it is the most productive way to work. Most of us would assume that a farmer who started farming at 9 A.

    Through the better part of human history, jobs from warrior to fisherperson to novelist had a cram-and-slack rhythm, in part because these jobs were shaped by actual productive needs, not arbitrary working clocks and managerial oversight. Is it possible that bullshit jobs are useful?

    But his point is that the bullshit economy feeds itself. Workers cram in Netflix binges, online purchases, takeout meals, and yoga classes as rewards for yet another day of the demoralizing bullshit work that sustains such life styles. Acculturation happens early. A college student, Brendan, complains of bullshit jobs on campus:. A lot of these student work jobs have us doing some sort of bullshit task like scanning IDs, or monitoring empty rooms, or cleaning already-clean tables.