Euphemism, Spin, and the Crisis in Organizational Life


In this seminal examination of how organizations behave, Stein exposes the mystifying language of workplace downsizing, restructuring, reengineering, managed care, and community disaster. His book is about deception, about the veiling of intention through propaganda, and how these efforts to conceal, misstate, and misrepresent build on euphemism. It shows how the work of euphemism--embodied in what has come to be called "spin"--serves as a foundation for much of the thinking and action taking place today in organizations. More than an academic contribution to the study of cultural, psychological, and organizational linguistics, this book shows the immense destructiveness underlying an ingrained vocabulary that sanitizes the horror of destruction. Stein examines words and networks of words, and the resulting worlds of meaning and motivation. The result is a powerful statement for anyone interested in how we group ourselves into organizations, how we behave in them, and the damage that organizational spin can,do to us.

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