Urban myths used to boost morale

IBM is telling its managers to spread tall tales or urban myths in a bid to boost morale, a newspaper reported yesterday.

Opposed to using dictatorial methods of informing staff about structural changes necessary to embrace e-commerce, companies are resorting to embellishing stories. The new technique called ‘faction’ at IBM, which entails enhancing real-life anecdotes, stems from a process developed at the Harvard Business School known as ‘radical brainstorming’.

IBM declined to comment. But Rob Lawrence, UK creative director for IBM, was reported to have said: ‘People have started to realise that a lot of structural changes are actually necessary to turn their companies into effective e-businesses, and one way to effect change is to write their own urban myths.’

PricewaterhouseCoopers denied suggestions it adopted similar tactics, but the firm, which has 35,000 consultants worldwide, lists story-telling among its brainstorming techniques.

A spokesman for PwC said: ‘It is not a policy we adopt here. We operate on fact. Any of the stories we put up on our website externally or internally are 100% fact.

‘I can’t think of any urban myths at PwC except this story.’

UK academics have criticised the new fad as undermining honesty and saying it could leave staff unsure whether to take anything their managers tell them seriously.

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