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Wittgenstein on language: toward a theory (and the study) of language in organizations

Robert P. Watson (Department of Political Science, University of Hawaii at Hilo, Hilo, Hawaii)

Journal of Management History (Archive)

ISSN: 1355-252X

Article publication date: 1 December 1997


What has emerged in large organizations is the use of hybrid language of abstractions, jargon, euphemisms, and complex syntax known as bureacratease. Often this misuse of language is done with the purpose of deceiving and misinforming. Whether or not this was the intent, however, the result of bureaucratees is often just that along with the breakdown of communication between the organization and the clientele it serves. Moreover, there is insufficient research devoted to this phenomenon. Borrowing from Wittgenstein, this article offers a model for understanding bureaucratese and attempts to move the field of public administration toward a theory of this misuse of language in organization.



Watson, R.P. (1997), "Wittgenstein on language: toward a theory (and the study) of language in organizations", Journal of Management History (Archive), Vol. 3 No. 4, pp. 360-374.




Copyright © 1997, MCB UP Limited