WTF? Swearing at work is good for business

Dennis Baron debaron at
Tue Oct 23 04:36:19 UTC 2007

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WTF?  Swearing at work is good for business

Bans on swearing in college sports have been making headlines in the  
last year or two as part of a concerted effort to enforce good  
sportsmanship among players and fans alike, both toward the opposing  
team and toward the refs, but a new study coming out of the  
University of East Anglia’s Norwich Business School reports that,  
while swearing may cost you the game, on the plus side it does build  
team spirit.  Their research further suggests that turning the air  
blue on a regular basis may actually be good for business.

The legendary American lawyer Clarence Darrow reportedly told one  
interviewer, “I don’t swear just for the hell of it” (at least the  
Darrow character in Inherit the Wind says this).  Now two business  
scholars, Yehuda Baruch and Stuart Jenkins, report in a recent issue  
of the Leadership and Organization Development Journal (vol. 28  
[2007], pp. 492-507), that regular swearing at work creates a sense  
of community and reinforces social relationships. . . .

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Dennis Baron
Professor of English and Linguistics
Department of English
University of Illinois
608 S. Wright St.
Urbana, IL 61801

office: 217-244-0568
fax: 217-333-4321

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