After the meeting, I found myself wondering why otherwise smart people so easily slipped into this kind of business bullshit. How had this obfuscatory way of speaking become so successful? There are a number of familiar and credible explanations. People use management-speak to give the impression of expertise. The inherent vagueness of this language also helps us dodge tough questions. Then there is the simple fact that even if business bullshit annoys many people, in most work situations we try our hardest to be polite and avoid confrontation. So instead of causing a scene by questioning the bullshit flying around the room, I followed the example of Simon Harwood, the director of strategic governance in the BBC’s self-satirising TV sitcom W1A. I used his standard response to any idea – no matter how absurd – “hurrah”.
The report cites a Los Angeles study showing that merchants on a stretch of Cesar Chavez Avenue estimated that 36 percent of their patrons had arrived by car and none by transit, when in fact 46 percent had arrived by transit and only 7 percent by car.