Monday, March 23, 2009

The Corporate Abuse of Language: Team

It's hardly any secret that corporations often act to subvert and/or completely change the meanings of some terms, at least as part of initiatives carried out via their PR efforts. These are usually aimed at targets outside the corp, though.

The ones I find most grating, though, are the ones that they inflict on the people within the corporation, and not those without. At least the PR stuff you can take measures to actively block - using spam filtering, ad blocking in your browser, and turning OFF your television.

These are meant to target those within the corporation so that workers within the corporation internalize the nonsense being spewed, along with their position within the corporate structure. I'm almost 100% sure this is intentional.

Unfortunately, I cannot just set up filtering for internal corporate memos.

One of those efforts at subversion I find so, so insidious is the way corporations use the term "team". It's "team" this, and "teams" that. Teamwork, team player, blah blah blah...yadda yadda yadda - Goooo Team!

The notion that teams exist within corporations is complete horseshit, and even a child can see through that. With all the constant barrage of internal PR, an adult sleepwalking through life will repeat this horseshit without any trace of irony however. Now that's education.

Real teams would have members which all get compensated in the same way, or at least be conducted as a meritocracy.

Real teams wouldn't allow the buddy system or nepotism to influence the way in which rewards are doled out.

Instead, the "teams" within corporations often have people who even go so far as sabotaging the "team", while still getting rewarded just as much as, and often more than, people actually trying to do their jobs.

The "teams" within corporations often keep net-negative performers, because of those very same reasons: who they know.

And yet, you read the average intra-corporate memo, and it's team, team, team. The hypocrisy and abuse of language just sets my teeth on edge.

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