Making Sense of Bastards

A 2005 article from business psychology journal Organization Studies discusses the psychology of being a bastard. It has a serious point, but is just hilarious for the contrast between the academic language and the subject matter.

The serious point behind the article, written by psychologist David Sims, is to look at how people in business organisations make narratives or stories about someone being a ‘bastard’ to demonize them and persuade others of the fact.

This can be to discount someone else opinion, undermine their status, or to create a dragon against which they can valiantly fight for their own glory.

However, because of the subject matter, it’s frequently funny as it analyses the varied types of company bastards as they’re constructed within organisations. Just some of the section headings are pure genius:

Narrative 1: Clever Bastard
Narrative 2: Bastard ex Machina
Narrative 3: Devious Bastard
A Narrative Understanding of Bastards
Making Sense of Bastards

Link to ‘You Bastard: A Narrative Exploration of the Experience of Indignation within Organizations’ (thanks Olwyn!).
Link to DOI entry for same.

One Comment

  1. Posted November 29, 2008 at 3:09 am | Permalink

    David Sims was awarded the 2008 Ig Nobel Literature Prize for this study. See
    And you can watch him deliver his acceptance speech at
    That occurs near the end of the ceremony — his was the final prize announced that night.

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