Doing an MBA naturally exposes me to lots of cringey business speak – leveraging this and integrating that. I came across a great line about how using peers to persuade people rather than higher ranking people can be more effective:
“Stated simply, influence is often best exerted horizontally rather than vertically”. Ha! “Stated Simply”! Having said that, I do get what he means, and although business is very jargony I would say most of the jargon is useful either for getting a point across more clearly or more efficiently.
I think mainstream academic disciplines are much worse. I read an article for organisational behaviour that is rooted in sociology and psychology, and found this humdinger:
“In general, the degree of dependence of s2(a) on O, following O’s influence, can be defined as equal to the amount of retrogression following the removal of O from the life space of P: Degree of dependence of s2(a) on O = s2(a) – s3(a).
The whole article read like that. In plain English:
“When person A is exerting some kind of power over person B, the effect that power has can be measured by the change in behaviour of Person B when Person A stops exerting the power, whether directly or indirectly.”
Now my version is not that ‘plain’ it must be said but it’s not that simple an idea. The article was trying to get something relatively complicated across, and the author thought that using some scientific sounding terminology would help – they were wrong. They may also have been trying to signal the importance and novelty of their proposed conceptual framework. They didn’t need to. Message to all article writers out there: Please try to make the best use of the language as it exists already, unless of course you’re aiming for comedy value. Then and only then, develop your own terminology.