ⓘ Corporate jargon


ⓘ Corporate jargon

Corporate jargon, variously known as corporate speak, corporate lingo, business speak, business jargon, management speak, workplace jargon, corporatese or commercialese, is the jargon often used in large corporations, bureaucracies, and similar workplaces. The use of corporate jargon is criticised for its lack of clarity as well as for its tedium, making meaning and intention opaque and understanding difficult. It is also criticized for not only enabling delusional thoughts, but allowing them to be seen as an asset in the workplace.

The tone is associated with managers of large corporations, business management consultants, and occasionally government. Reference to such jargon is typically derogatory, implying the use of long, complicated, or obscure words, abbreviations, euphemisms, and acronyms. For that reason some of its forms may be considered as an argot. Some of these words may be actually new inventions, designed purely to fit the specialized meaning of a situation or even to "spin" negative situations as positive situations, for example, in the practice of greenwashing. The use of corporate speak is considered an indication of neoliberal beliefs and practices. Although it is pervasive in the education field, its use has been criticized as reflecting a sinister view of students as commodities and schools as retail outlets.

Marketing speak is a related label for wording styles used to promote a product or service to a wide audience by seeking to create the impression that the vendors of the service possess a high level of sophistication, skill, and technical knowledge. Such language is often used in marketing press releases, advertising copy, and prepared statements read by executives and politicians.


1. Examples

Many terms have straightforward meanings in other contexts, but are used more loosely in business speak. For example, deliverable is used to refer to anything that has to be done by a certain date to be verified by another party.

The phrases going forward or moving forward make a confident gesture towards the future, but are generally vague on timing, which usually means it can be removed from a sentence with little or no effect on its overall meaning.

Legal terms such as "Chapter 11" can be used without explaining what they are about: for example, Chapter 11, Title 11, United States Code is about US bankruptcy.

Polish corporate speak contains many borrowed English acronyms, words, and usages. In one study, 79% of respondents admitted to using vulgar words in daily communication. Furthermore, 63% thought the word "fuck" was vulgar, while 32% thought it was neutral.