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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  1. Making laziness a virtue.
  2. Mythical, idyllic time between jobs.


The process of renting money to people who can’t afford to buy it yet.

lesser evil

Bachelor of Business Administration.

level playing field

  1. Surveyor’s fantasy: a theodolite on a tripod.
  2. Where the goal posts were moved to.


  1. A pain in the asset base.
  2. The amount that you paid for an asset when you thought that it was worth more.
  3. A lapsed asset.
  4. A re-valued asset.


Someone who believes that everything is relative, including the claim that ‘everything is relative’.

(See idiot)


Place where homeless people watch TV.

lifelong learning

Slow learners.

lifetime warranty

(circular reasoning) A worthless guarantee which states that as long as the product is working, you’ll fix it, and that as soon as it is broken, its lifetime is over, and, consequently, so too is its warranty.

limited liability company

A business entity whose shareholders are limited and a liability to society.


To make a liquid from a solid by letting off steam.


Time to think of what you are going to say next.


  1. People who understand the literal meaning of symbols. Uncharacteristic of postmodernism.
  2. Numeracy for the innumerate.


A body of knowledge that professionals consult after they retire.


More paperwork. A liturgy to litter, literally.


The art of reasoning imposed on psychiatrists by their patients.


  1. A new word for very big trucks, created by the very big people who drive them, so no one’s going to argue. The same goes for supply chain management, which refers to both truck drivers and their bosses, and to other big people in the shipping and airfreight industries.
  2. The sequencing and measurement of queues, delays and excuses.

long-range planning

Planning that includes planning as part of its planning.


The next reporting period.


  1. A chance to keep your money whole.
  2. The holey dollar.
  3. The holy dollar.

loss leader

The fallback justification to which you retreat when selling something below cost.


  1. The last domain of employees uncompetitive in the marketplace.
  2. Lack of ambition.

loyalty program

A plan to encourage customers to keep buying something when its intrinsic merit is not enough.


Having a job with authority but no accountability.

(see management consultant)


The art of managing people by lying to them and getting away with it, by (mis)quoting Machiavelli.


Economists defending their income.


Psychological tests.


What managers do until they become leaders.

management academic

Someone who conspires with management students in the shared misbelief that:

  • management can be taught, and
  • management can be learnt.

Those who can: do.

Those who can’t: educate.

Those who can’t educate: consult.

Those who can’t consult: profess.

Those who can’t profess: train managers.

management by objectives (MBO)

Management by thinking about tomorrow instead of the day after.

management consultant

A highly educated unemployed person continually attending paid job interviews.

management retreat

  1. Sexual harassment without the sex.
  2. A temple in which the religion of management is taught backwards.

management school

Enrolled in by executives whose high opinion of their own leadership potential is not shared by their superiors. However, if your career is failing, an MBA won’t help.

management science

An oxymoronic description of management which assumes that all employees have read the same textbook: the one that the boss gave them.

managing director (MD)

The least informed person in the organisation. Just managing.

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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.