Heard it all before?

January 16, 2011

Do you ever get the feeling the same old management ideas just keep coming round again, possibly with a different name? Or that we’ve just got used to a regular turn over in euphemisms? You could be right! One way of finding out is to use something like Googlelabs Ngram Viewer. This is based on all those books that Google has been busy scanning into their great virtual library. One thing you can do with it is to look for trends in the use of particular words, or pairs of words, over time. For example, those dear old euphuisms for making people redundant: ‘downsizing’ and ‘rightsizing’. Pop them into the Ngram viewer and what do you get? ‘Downsizing’ appears in about 1980, ‘rightsizing’ in the more PC, late 1990s. Now you know what it can do, enjoy!

PS: The use of the word ‘enjoy’, in all its manifestations, has been relatively stable over the last 100 years.


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