We continue 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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People-orientated, collegial, compassionate, democratic, emotionally intelligent, management-schooled, liberal-minded, flexible, open-minded, visionary modus operandi.


Antonym of Machiavellian.




Insuring yourself against your own incompetence.


Quality of the loose cannon who fires broadsides at meetings.


  1. Turning a deaf ear to customers’ complaints. A suggestion box without the box.
  2. Being cool.


Belief in the value of the individual, especially when no-one agrees with you. Inconsistent with the practice of management.

industrial espionage

Competitive research.

industrial psychology

The use of a caring profession in an uncaring way.

industrial sociology

The use of a non-caring profession in a caring way.


A sector that works.

industry relations

The forced tripartite relationship between government, employees and employers, based on the misconception that they have common goals. Best to let consumers work it out.


The closest thing to stability achieved by most organisations.


  1. An increase in the quantity of money.
  2. Another form of taxation without consent.
  3. The creation, by government, of less from more.


News to abuse.

information technology

Software-hardware integration, into which randomly selected knowledge is placed temporarily, only to see it irrevocably transmuted into meaningless gibberish upon output.


The synthesised vertices and integrated, interconnected interfaces of the meta-architecture of a system’s physical resources, sometimes designed to dovetail with the nexuses of human resources, sometimes designed to supersede them.


Putting your initials to an action.


Not yet guilty.


Creativity you get paid for.


Inflexible idea that any individual manager is important, indispensable and irreplaceable.


The state of being in sudsy liquid, where froth bubbles and vice versa, for the purpose of cleaning hard-to-remove stains from your balance sheet.


Temporary insanity.


Institute for incantation and decanting.


Managers telling managers how to manage.


  1. Clearing your throat during your boss’s PowerPoint presentation.
  2. Clarifying to your boss what you thought they said.
  3. Free speech.

intangible asset

Something that you’re happy to quantify when selling and to qualify when buying.


Compelling competing business entities to work together.


Principled rectitude.


The official enemy of managers. The first person to be shot, come the managerial revolution.

intellectual property

Where intellectuals live.

intelligence tests

  1. Gauge of compliance – provides evidence of the intelligent refusal to do them.
  2. Superseded by emotional intelligence tests.
  3. Measure of proficiency at intelligence tests.
  4. Politically correct way of dividing them from us.
  5. Bag of tricks invented by psychologists; used by managers to assess entry into their profession, but excludes nobody (see idiot).

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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.