My previous blog looked at the way the word “partner” is being used to promote an unhealthy relationship between media and commercial organisations.
There are of course other abuses of the word which did not fit exactly with the theme of the previous blog, so I thought I would do a separate one here.
You should always be suspicious when organisations start referring to “our partners” or “our partner organisations.”
This is used particularly when there has been, for example, a child abuse scandal or some policy disaster involving more than one body.
It is designed to create the impression that all of these groups are sharing responsibility – indeed they may even use the word.
But the aim of their lawyers and PR departments is rather different. It is to evade accountability. It doesn’t mean they will accept joint accountability, rather that they can ensure that the blame can never fall on one individual organisation.
Next time there is a major scandal, I will highlight how this word is used.
And there is another rather unpleasant use of the word partner. The word – or the verb equavalent “work together” – is used by companies to try to defuse a conflict with their customers.
They will try to create the impression that they are on your side when you make a complaint about a product or a service. Dont be fooled – this is simply a device to try and confuse the debate.
So don’t be fooled. Whenever someone in power tried by words or behaviour to create they impression they are on your side, they are deceiving you – customer service staff will always be on the side of the company that pays their wages and their work colleagues and will put these interests ahead of those of the customers.
You have been warned