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Organizational Bullshit Scale

Oct 8, 2022 | Conscious Communication, Daily Trek

Organizational Bullshit - Radical Trekking - Ayelet Baron

Organizational Bullshit Persception Scale

A group of five academics from South Africa to Canada, Italy and Finland conducted a study evaluating the psychometric properties of the Organizational Bullshit Persception Scale and even gave it an acronym, OBPS. The objective of the scale is to measure perceptions of the extent of Organizational Bullshit that exists in a workplace! 

Bullshit is defined as people making statements with zero regard to the truth. The study also found that “In recent years, the term bullshit has moved from being a relatively mild expletive to a term that is used to describe acts of communication that have no grounding in truth.”

Before learning about this study, #1) I had no idea, and maybe you don’t either, that there is an academic field called Organizational Bullshit, offering insights into how employees view workplace bullshit. And #2) the authors recommend that future researchers validate the OBPS scale and further develop identified factors of Organizational Bullshit! 

They also believe that speaking in plain language and making evidence-based decisions will help lower BS in organizations. And that a lot can change when leaders or as they called them, bosses, are truthful. 

Bullshit is on the Radar

So, how far is an organization along the Organizational Bullshit Perception Scale (OBPS)? It seems most rank pretty high up. 

No one will be shocked that bullshit is a regular communication practice that permeates every aspect of our life—from society, politics, language and work culture. This research finds that employees response to organizational bullshits rests in four areas:

  • Try to escape or exit the bullshit
  • Confront the bullshit by speaking out
  • Embrace or spread the bullshit
  • Disengage

The study itself uncovered three dimensions of Organizational Bullshit that “provide insight into how BS manifests itself in organizational life. And provides evidence that employees are attentive to bullshit and its components.”

Regard for the truth was the first factor where communication lacks evidence or factual information. This is a source of frustration for most employees as they point to questionable decisions.   

The boss is the second factor where employees see their superiors as key “players in the dissemination of bullshit.”  They see the higher ups in the organization using bullshit to advance their self-interest or advance their point of view, which is not always truthful. 

Using bullshit language is the third factor where the language used is excessive of acronyms and jargon. It’s like there is a secret language that creates meaning and only allows insiders to engage and voice opinions or concerns. 

The study concludes: “Hopefully, this will help leaders structure workplaces where fewer workers grumble, This place is full of bullshit.” 

Conscious Communication is Also Available

At the end of the day, we can hope but maybe instead we can introduce conscious communication into our organizations? Perhaps we focus on building trust and getting aligned around the mission? Imagine if every person in an organization had a line of sight to the mission? What this means is that truthful and simple communication allows each person to play their role.

Many of us would like less bullshit and more radical honesty in every aspect of our life. We want to show up as who we are and lead meaningful lives. So, maybe this is an opportunity to call bullshit and create what we actually need for ourselves, future generations and the planet?

I have not laughed as hard in a long time as I read through the report but it also made me sad at the same time. We have an opportunity to create now. Trust is at the heart of everything when we communicate from the heart.

Imagine what an international team of brilliant scholars can study in the future and how it can help us create healthy systems …

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