What does Organizational Sloganeering indicate?

Sloganeering is the repeated use of empty words geared at influencing behaviours and/or attitudes.

Politicians use slogans all the time. Those of you who live in democracies know that slogans are often empty promises. Those of us who live in other types of regimes know how to decipher slogans and guess what the regime really means.

Organizations use slogans almost as much as politicians.

Most of us are less skilled at understanding slogans in an organization that we are in understanding political slogans.

 I want to provide possible directions of what sloganeering can indicate.

1-There is a gap between actual and desired behaviours that management does not how to bridge, so they are using slogans. Let’s call this sloganeering due to ignorance.

2-There is only a message that management wants to purvey; there  is no willingness  to commit resources to make it happen, so slogans are being used to obfuscate.Let’s call this sloganeering as malicious lipservice.

3-Instead of solving problems pragmatically, there is a corporate religion which is being promulgated, in the hope that more religion will cure the organization. Let’s call this organizational religious  fanaticism.

4-Slogans are used as imperialistic tools to conquer someone else’s territory. The massive  use of “big data” and “internet of things” are illustrations of this. Let’s call this sloganeering as weaponry.

Case Studies

  • The slogan: Worship your customer.

This company was not willing to invest in the necessary IT to serve its customers, so they invested in sloganeering internally and externally.

  • Let teamwork make it happen

This company hired managers who built empires and after several failed attempts to create more synergy, slogans are being administered, which makes “more sense” that replacing managers.

  • Quality is everybody’s job

This company makes very aggressive commitments to the market which are unachievable. So initial product releases are crap. Yet the CEO truly believes that everyone should own quality. BTW, the measurement system supports speedy releases.

In all the supervision work I do with consultants, I place a major focus on how to diagnose and use the company’s slogans to understand and deal with organizational pathologies.

One final word of caution. Has a company hired you to train its employees about how to implement its slogans? Don’t do it since the chances of being relevant are very very very (3 verys) low. But you sure can get burned!

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