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Is the age of profanity over?

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in Leaders & Managers

Goldman Sachs now prohibits employees from swearing in e-mails, and uses screening software to spot and remove profanity, including acronyms such as “WTF.”

The impetus for change was the company’s embarrassment over profanity-littered e-mails that were repeatedly trotted out during congressional hearings.

But is there ever a good cause for profanity in the workplace?

Robert Sutton, an organizational psychologist at Stanford University and author of The No A****** Rule, says that using swear words at the right time can pack an “emotional wallop.”

Gen. George Patton once said, “When I want it to stick, I give it to them loud and dirty.” Sutton says those words are just tools in an executive toolbox—sharp tools, to be handled carefully.

-- Adapted from “George Carlin Never Would've Cut It at the New Goldman Sachs,” The Wall Street Journal and “Power Players And Profanity: It Can Be &%#@ Risky,” National Public Radio.

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