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Australian philosopher, literary critic, legal scholar, and professional writer. Based in Newcastle, NSW. Author of FREEDOM OF RELIGION AND THE SECULAR STATE (2012), HUMANITY ENHANCED (2014), and THE MYSTERY OF MORAL AUTHORITY (2016).

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Workplace profanity boosts morale

Via Udo Schuklenk's blog, I came across this enjoyable little story that reports a study of workplace profanity.

The study found that swearing on the job can reduce stress and boost employee morale. Frequent swearing can reinforce solidarity among staff and enable them to express their feelings, such as frustration, and to develop social relationships.

Abusive and offensive swearing should be eliminated where it generates greater levels of stress, rather than helping to relieve it. Up to a point, though, swearing is actually beneficial. Imposing a ban on profanity, and reprimanding staff for it, might seem like strong leadership, according to the research, but it would remove a source of solidarity and could lead to decreased morale and work motivation.

So go ahead, folks. Curse and swear away.


Russell Blackford said...

What, no one wants to comment on this @$%&*! post?

Blake Stacey said...

Well, there's just nothing $^@@%$%!%!&& surprising about it.

Steelman said...

I wonder if the study gave details about any differences between the attitudes of men and women in regard to "therapeutic swearing"?

It sounds like swearing, in this context, is all about empathy and commiseration within the in-group. A way of sharing feelings without necessarily being overly vulnerable with coworkers.

To vulnerable:
"I get so upset inside when customer X calls; he reminds me of my father, and all the times I could never measure up to his expectations. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you guys about my feelings. Hugs?"

An excerpt from my office:
"Yes, sir. I'm sorry, sir. We'll make it right. Goodbye...[hangs up]...you dumb son of a bitch. Oops, did I hang up?" [communal laughter]

clodhopper said...

**** amen