Swearing claimed as 'good for business'

A NEW study by the University of East Anglia suggests that allowing staff to swear at work can benefit workers and employers.Professor Yehuda Baruch, professor of management at the UEA-based Norwich Business School, and graduate Stuart Jenkins conducted the study to challenge leadership styles and investigate the positive impact swearing could have.

A NEW study by the University of East Anglia suggests that allowing staff to swear at work can benefit workers and employers.

Professor Yehuda Baruch, professor of management at the UEA-based Norwich Business School, and graduate Stuart Jenkins conducted the study to challenge leadership styles and investigate the positive impact swearing could have.

Prof Baruch said: “We hope that this study will serve not only to acknowledge the part that swearing plays in our work and our lives, but also to indicate that leaders sometimes need to 'think differently', and be open to intriguing ideas.”

The findings of the survey show the use of non-conventional and uncivil language can be a useful emotional release and an effective way of promoting social relationships with others.


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Swearing is used within society on a continual basis but not always in an abusive and derogatory manner.

By allowing staff to swear as a means of expressing feelings of frustration and tension it is suggested working conditions could improve.

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Employees at lower levels and female workers were singled out as being more likely to swear within the workplace whilst younger managers and professionals were found to be more tolerant, suggesting that age maybe a key factor in the acceptance of taboo language in the workplace.

Prof Baruch and Mr Jenkins did however stress that abusive swearing should not be encouraged where it generates increased levels of stress rather than helping to relieve it.

A further conclusion highlighted in the survey considers the future continual rise in the use of swearing within the workplace.

The question to be addressed by leaders and managers considers the ways of dealing with the issues.

Prof Baruch stressed the importance of understanding the views of staff on the matter.

He said: “The challenge is to master the 'art' of knowing when to turn a blind eye to communication that does not meet with their own standards.”

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