A tool in the kit: Uses of bullshitting among Millennial workers

Daniel D. Martin, Janelle L. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This study explores the nature, use, and social organization of one form of communicative action that is common in everyday life--"bullshitting." We use this form of communication to assess the ways in which dimensions of community, power and status are created in interaction. Abiding by the canons of ethnographic content analysis, we gathered data from over one hundred student respondents to ascertain the behaviors, utterances, and stories that people define as "bullshitting." The study finds that members of the "millennial generation" hone skills both in the telling and detection of this form of communication as they participate in a variety of contexts, including school, work, and interpersonal relationships. Special attention is given to the ways in which bullshitting is used as a cultural resource for agentive action. Dramaturgical and organizational theories are drawn upon in theorizing the data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1245-1269
Number of pages25
JournalQualitative Report
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Ethnographic content analysis
  • Ingratiation
  • Injustice frame
  • Organizational culture
  • Self-presentation


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