A conversation with Jeffrey Ritter, information governance expert and author of Achieving Digital Trust
Interview by Joseph McCafferty
February 13, 2017
We've all seen ambiguous and imprecise language in the business world, whether in standards and regulations, our own policies and requirements, or in everyday reports and memos. Words like "adequate," "reasonable," "suitable," and "appropriate" pervade business writing, especially when it comes to setting rules and standards, including those that internal auditors must provide assurance over.
Jeffrey Ritter a data security and governance expert and lecturer at John Hopkins University and University of Oxford, says it's no accident that business writing is littered with confusing and imprecise language. "The goal is to be intentionally ambiguous," says Ritter. He says such language allow us to take shortcuts and avoid the hard work of being precise. He says it also keeps one group from having to learn the business vocabulary of another or to really understand what they are trying to say at a detailed level.