Wednesday, May 5, 2010


My life is a complex litany of jargon.  Some of it is useful. Most is just annoying or confusing.  I feel pained when new jargon is added to my addled brain.

Enter the organogram.

In case you are too uncool to get this one, organogram  is a description of a company’s structure.  It is presumably a truncation of organisational diagram?

I am assured by people who like to use this word that it is a common business term.  But this does not change the fact that it is a travesty of the English language.

For your benefit, I did some value for money empirical research, and discovered that the original spelling was organigram (more correct, but still a travesty), and it can be dated back to 1962.  What makes this slightly acceptable is that we seem to have acquired the word from French, in which organigramme has been recorded as long as ago 1952.  Oddly, the first example in the Oxford English Dictionary spells it with an o (rather than an i).  However, for the next few decades, the i form was dominant.

But, all hail the HR professional. In the early to mid 1990s, someone in the HR business decided that, in order to justify their existence in an era of redundancies, organogram with an o looked sexier than with an i.

This does not mean that you need to use this word. I challenge you to make you life more interesting by never using this word.

It is a confusing word, that looks confusingly like it should mean a telegram on organic paper, or a unit of weight.  “Two hundred organograms of my best figs?  Coming right up, Ma’am!”

If you are compelled, or forced on pain of the most barbaric death imaginable, to use this word, at least spell it with an i.  Suffice to say, I will not be using this word in the hope it faces the same fate as the dinosaurs.

1 comment:

Shane Pleasance said...

Thank you, Libertarimum. ;-p