Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Word Junk

Management is a useful technique, but it belongs properly to the domain of logistics: to coordinating resources and activities. When management is elevated to an ideology (managerialism, if you will) it inevitably corrodes the distinction (which it little understands) between planning and strategy. It moves to lead what it should simply coordinate. Hence, managerial reports are stuffed with high-sounding and empty aspirational terms, vague assertions and incoherent popular terms. Thought is pushed to the edges. What is left is word junk.

A perfect example of this confusion is here, a 'strategic blueprint' (itself an oxymoron) for e-learning at The University of Queensland. Everyone knows a half-dozen other examples.

Tufte noted of 'chart junk' in PowerPoint that it 'weakens spatial reasoning as it does verbal reasoning'. Word junk weakens thought as it corrupts critical reasoning.