Survey reveals pressure to provide answers

Workers are increasingly “blagging” their way through the business world, according to new research.

A survey of 2,000 UK employees conducted by the Plain English Campaign and Microsoft shows that workers feel pressure to lie at work, with almost two thirds admitting to business blagging – using language that avoids saying anything specific.

This could cause serious problems for UK business decision-making, researchers warned.

This is not only bad for business, but for the workers themselves – 81% of respondents said it made them feel stressed, and 66% that it created more work for themselves in the future.

Almost six out of 10  (57%) also think it undermines their colleague’s trust in them.

Respondents said three factors were key drivers for blagging, with a lack of information coming top (64%), followed by time pressures (51%).

Finally, 23% were not sure that the information they were relayed was correct – leading to the passing on of dubious data.

The survey also identifies a trend of ‘ascending Chinese whispers’ – with the “white lies” being passed up the hierarchical chain.

The research found that employees are more likely to blag to their boss (22%) or their peers (23%) than their subordinates (9%), showing that the pressure to make decisions is hierarchical.

Chrissie Maher, the founder of the Plain English Campaign, said: “Tight deadlines and pressure from management can easily make people feel they need to use ‘blag’ language which avoids saying anything specific.

“This can be very dangerous, as decision-makers will not have the detailed information they need.”

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