On and on we go … with the episodic publication of The Management Contradictionary (Benjamin Marks, Rodney Marks, and Robert Spillane. Michelle Anderson Publishing: Melbourne).

It’s available in all good libraries, and quite a few bad ones, too. The book is in alphabetical order, so feel free to keep reading the blog posts – past, present and future – from eh? to zzz.

The Management Contradictionary defines the real meaning behind management terms.

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An agent provocateur.


A place full of humans but devoid of humanity.


The theory that things exist.


Your enemy’s management philosophy.


Something you can’t let pass.


  1. What happens to blondes. Of any gender.
  2. Being blonde. In any state.


Rational belief in the irrational, and/or vice versa.


The mistaken view of male superiority.


  1. Prized distraction from the main game.
  2. Labour you don’t get paid for.


Road to unqualified disaster taken by queue-jumping MBAs.


The real currency of management. That is, politics.


A fair-weather fax.


Tantamount to the verisimilitude of the approximation of the facsimile of the real thing.


360o justified paranoia.


A way of burying complaints in an orderly manner.


  1. A style of corporate architecture characterised by structures with glass ceilings.
  2. The desire to get balls by castrating men.
  3. The recognition of females as isms, not ologies.

(See balls and juggle them)


The name of the executive or department who or which can predict the past. Usually acts as a disapproving parent to the adults in operations and the children in marketing.

financial institutions

  1. Insurance companies and their insurers, the reinsurance companies, and their insurers – oops, they’re not insured, so someone has to bear the risk … oh that’s right, the customers via exorbitant premiums.
  2. Non-banks masquerading as banks while evading regulatory authorities’ regulations and authority.

fine print

  1. Justification for lawyers’ billable hours.
  2. Terms and conditions that are deliberately hard to read and understand.
  3. Penalty for literacy.

first-line supervisor

A boss whom you can actually see and talk to.

fiscal policy

How government earns unearned income and plans to misspend it.

fixed capital

Money someone senior to you has already allocated.

fixed costs

Expenditure items that you can’t do anything about.


  1. Praise for the vanity of Planet He.
  2. Verbal gas released at high pressure through a narrow opening.
  3. Phonetic philately fishing for the imprimatur of a stamp of approval.


The ability to see what’s going on when everyone around you is screaming ‘Fire!’ – unless of course there really is a fire, in which case the locus of your single focus hocus-pocus makes you toast.

focus group

A roomful of opinionated citizens whose views are meant to represent the millions of prejudices held by the whole world or some smaller market segment. Given that 37.46 percent of the data from quantitative research is made up on the spot, qualitative research is a more cost-effective way of coming up with authoritative, inaccurate information.

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Rodney Marks

I’m an Australian corporate comedian, performing comic hoaxes at business events. If you like these blogs, you’ll like my live comedy. If you don’t like these blogs, you still might like my live comedy.

Add comedian.com.au to your bookmarks, and one day: book Marks. I don’t do cheap jokes, and I’m freer than you think. I’m comical not anatomical, economical not astronomical.

For more info – and to contact me directly – see my LinkedIn profile, and website: www.comedian.com.au. I’m based in Sydney and travel widely.