Neologisms That Sound Ridiculous Usually Are Ridiculous—and Telltale Indicators of the Corporatization of the Professions

It is, of course, one of the great linguistic ironies that education in general and higher education in particular are among the most jargon-ridden of the disciplines. Indeed, it may be that our penchant for almost endlessly creating and re-creating jargon has made us especially susceptible to the jargon invented by the “educational reformers,” the “educational innovators,” and the “educational transformers”—almost none of whom actually have any educational credentials as educators. I think that their impulse to generate a jargon of their own that mimics the jargon of the discipline may, in itself, undercut their arguments that they are bringing a fresh perspective to the resolution of education-related issues.

Writing for Dissident Voice, Walter Brash reminds us that this subversion of the profession in new quagmires of corporate jargon extends to professionals beyond academia—and is never to the benefit of those professions.

Here is Brasch’s account of the circumstance that prompted his article:

“Beneath a three-column headline in my local newspaper was a barely-edited press release.

“That’s not unusual. With the downsizing of newsrooms, there’s more room for wire service soft features and press releases. But this one caught my attention.

“SystemCare Health in New Jersey promoted a graduate of a college in my town to the lofty position of Senior Director of Doctivity.

“I checked the dictionary—“Doctivity” didn’t exist. I checked WebMD, the website for amateurs to learn the meaning of unpronounceable medical terms—and how to recognize their symptoms and treatments. Nothing there.

“That left SystemCare Health’s website, which spewed a barrage of buzzwords and useless gibberish, the kind that people in marketing and business think will impress those who speak fluent English.”

Eventually, Brasch ascertained that “Doctivity” is a neologism for the following services provided to new physicians:

“After wading through the mission of the company, I plunged into the swamp of Doctivity, which the company claims is ‘woven into a health system’s culture to create a repeatable process that provides visibility and accountability for the time it takes a new physician to break even [and] eliminates functional silos.’ Since ‘functional silos’ are probably what exist in a field of cow manure, I was able to reaffirm my initial impressions about the company, and moved forward.”

Like most of the corporate jargon that has become all too commonplace in academia, this jargon is very humorous—when analyzed from a distance.

But when you cannot alk away from it, it is about as humorous as the rash that occurs with shingles.


Brasch’s complete article is available at:



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